Calling his qualities “all too rare in politics,” former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday endorsed Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis for a second term.
The former Republican House member has now picked up the endorsements of two Florida governors: Bush and Gov. Rick Scott, a longtime ally of Patronis who appointed him to be in charge of the state’s checkbooks and a nearly $300 million budget.
“As a small businessman, Jimmy understand how to keep our state growing by securing high credit ratings, and through his role as State Fire Marshal Jimmy is protecting those who protect us by fighting to improve mental health and cancer benefits for Florida firefighters,” Bush said.
Patronis, a Panama City restaurant owner, said he was “humbled” to have Bush support his campaign.
“The mark he forever left on Florida as a successful two-term governor has been a tremendous influence on me and he will continue to be someone who’s counsel I am honored to have,” Patronis said.
As CFO, Patronis is one of three elected Cabinet members who work with Scott to set state policy. He works with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi. Scott appointed him to the position after Jeff Atwater resigned to work at Florida Atlantic University.
As he campaigns for another term as CFO, he is likely to face Republican Sen. Tom Lee in the primary. Lee has said he will run, but has not yet filed the official paperwork.
In 2006, when Bush was governor, he endorsed Lee in his failed effort to become CFO.
“He gives it to you straight,” Bush said, “with the character and experience to back it up.
“Our state needs Tom Lee.”