Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is ready for the campaign ahead: $2 million banked helps the Panama City Republican in that regard.
While Patronis has a virtually uncontested primary (although Sen. Tom Lee insists he will eventually enter the race), the same can’t be said for the top of the ticket.
For Governor, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, and (at least provisionally) House Speaker Richard Corcoran are all running.
Patronis, when asked which of the three would be best at carrying on the legacy of Gov. Rick Scott, was noncommittal.
“All those gentlemen have fantastic leadership abilities,” Patronis said Monday in Jacksonville. “They all bring a different skill set that complements what the state of Florida needs right now. All three of those gentlemen have that ability.”
“But the campaign is a great test of leadership, ideas, and skills. There will be mishaps, falls, but there will be opportunities,” Patronis added.
One of those mishaps or opportunities, depending on how one looks at it: DeSantis’ vow to “drain the swamp” in Tallahassee, which has been under Republican control for two decades.
We asked Patronis whether he thought Tallahassee was swampy, and if so, how swampy.
“I think Congressman DeSantis is having some fun with the rhetoric that we all see in Washington,” Patronis said.
“I think any business, any community, any organization is going to have warts. It happens,” Patronis added. “Tallahassee is a fantastic place, it really is. Good people making a difference. But hey, when personal people make personal decision sometimes that complicates professional situations.”
“To me, it’s campaign rhetoric,” Patronis said when we asked if Tallahassee was in need of swamp draining. “It is a great buzzword.”