Republican State Rep. Jay Fant has the safest of safe seats on Jacksonville’s deep-red Westside.
However, in the even deeper-red Florida House, he found himself on the losing side of this week’s debate about Enterprise Florida.
Fant spoke passionately and futilely about the need to maintain incentive programs, a position not shared by most of the legislative body.
However, there is a narrative suggesting the Florida House is not Fant’s end game.
Rep. Fant, who has not filed for re-election, is reportedly mulling a run for Florida Attorney General in 2018, multiple credible sources asserted Friday.
Last week, a strong source tells us that Fant held a finance meeting at the home of Jacksonville power broker John Rood, where he urged people to donate to his political committee, Pledge This Day.
If Fant intends to run statewide, that meeting had better have been beneficial: at the end of February, Fant had $38,000 on hand.
While one can buy a solid new car with that, one would not be able to run a campaign against a more deep-pocketed candidate, such as fundraising machine Ron DeSantis or a number of other people who may want to be AG.
Locals, meanwhile, are bearish on Fant’s chances, questioning his ability to raise money and citing his limited statewide profile in their assessments.
The end result of a Fant run for Attorney General, they suggest, would be more interesting in terms of the shakeup in House District 15 than in terms of Fant running a competitive campaign for AG.
The prospect of a statewide run gives an interesting context to Fant’s decision in October, running unopposed, to spend $70,000 on a television ad in the Jacksonville market to expand his name identification.
Fant needs some help there: in a Spring 2016 poll of prospective candidates for what was an open seat in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, Fant came in at 6 percent, with a favorable rating of +3 among likely GOP primary voters.
We’ve reached out to Fant regarding the rumored run for Attorney General, and will update when we get his take.