Bye-bye Homestead, hello statewide race

Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter announced Wednesday he will file paperwork to run for state agriculture commissioner, setting up a potential Democratic primary in a contest so far dominated by three Republican candidates.

Porter, who will “resign to run” according to his campaign, will join David Walker of Fort Lauderdale, who is president of the South Florida Audubon Society, as Democratic candidates. Walker, who has put up $9,500 of his own money, has otherwise raised less than $6,000.

Porter’s campaign manager said in a release that the candidate will be able to raise money and will set up a political committee called Friends of Jeff Porter.

“He has been encouraged by the support that has been pledged to him by many community leaders for his run for Commissioner of Agriculture and he will unveil his leadership team during the announcement tour,” a release from the campaign stated.

Porter owns World Wide Supply Solutions, a supplier of building materials.

The Republican contest features Rep. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers, Sen. Denise Grimsley of Sebring and former Rep. Baxter Troutman of Winter Haven. Caldwell started the year with more than $1 million on hand, Grimsley just under $900,000. Troutman has put up $2.5 million of his own money for the contest.

By Jim Turner.