2018 Cabinet races

Will he or won’t he? Patronis and the Cabinet slide

Commissioner-Slide_bannerThere is a high probability Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis won’t miss the chance for a wacky good time with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi if they go on the Giant Slide on Thursday.

This will be Patronis’ first appearance as a member of the Cabinet when the state officials hold a largely ceremonial meeting in Tampa timed with the kick-off of the  Florida State Fair.

Typically, members of the Cabinet take to the slide if the weather is good. Putnam has done the slide in his cowboy boots, while Bondi has kept her heels on, and Gov. Rick Scott isn’t known for partaking in the plunge. No news yet on what kicks Patronis might sport, if he joins in the fun.

A “flip the switch” event kicks off the fair at 6:15 a.m., then Putnam — a Republican who’s running for governor — will host a “Fresh From Florida” breakfast prior to an agenda-lite Cabinet meeting in the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center Pavilion, which starts at 9 a.m.

By Jim Turner.

AG candidates lassoed for Federalist’s Disney confab

Four candidates for attorney general are expected to appear together at a Federalist Society powwow near Orlando next month.

Democrat Ryan Torrens  and Republican Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville, Rep. Frank White of Pensacola and former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody have agreed to participate in a panel discussion on Feb. 3 as part of the annual Federalist Society Florida Chapters Conference at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Report in Lake Buena Vista, according to an announcement released Wednesday.

State Reps. Ross Spano, a Republican from Dover, and Sean Shaw, a Democrat from Tampa, have also invited, but have yet to reply, the Society noted on Wednesday.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Cabinet post last year and seeking re-election to the job, will appear at the conference on Feb. 2.

Two officials from President Donald Trump’s administration — EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — and Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi are also slated to appear.

By Jim Turner and Dara Kam.

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.

Sink backs Ring for CFO

SInkRingFormer CFO Alex Sink has thrown her support behind Jeremy Ring, a former state senator who’s running for the Cabinet post she once held.
According to Sink, a Democrat who lost a bid for governor to Rick Scott in 2010, the CFO spot is “one of the most important statewide cabinet positions in Florida Government.” (It’s one of three statewide cabinet positions.)
Sink called Ring, a Broward County Democrat who was one of the founders of Yahoo, is a “a successful entrepreneur, a dedicated Florida State Senator, a philanthropic supporter and someone who agrees with me that we need to expand, modernize and stimulate our state’s economy through innovation and smart job growth.”
Here’s more of what Sink had to say about Ring in an email announcing her endorsement:
As the former CFO, I know what it takes to succeed in this highly complex and diverse cabinet position. Floridians need someone who is experienced in business, understands the complexities of insurance and financial markets and has the savvy and enthusiasm to tackle the challenges that Florida faces now and in the future.
I truly believe that he is the right choice for Florida CFO!
Please consider making a small contribution, click here, so Jeremy knows you saw my email and endorsement!
Learn more about Jeremy Ring here: