Mike McCalister entered the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, setting up a four-way Republican primary to replace Adam Putnam, who is termed-out and running for Governor.
Florida Politics previously reported that McCalister, a retired Army Colonel, was eyeing a run for the seat with a decision to come in early spring.
McCalister got some name recognition when he ran for governor in 2010, the same year Rick Scott won his first term, and when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2012. He took 10 percent in the Republican Primary for governor — more than 130,000 votes — despite spending less than $10,000 on his campaign.
Chatter about McCalister launching another campaign for statewide office grew loud early in the year as he made stops at Republican clubs and town hall meetings.
His efficiency in 2010 will come in handy in the Ag Commissioner race, where each of his three primary opponents has crossed the $1 million mark in total fundraising.
McCalister joins Lehigh Acres Rep Matt Caldwell, Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican Primary for the Cabinet position. Also running are Democrats Jeffrey Porter, David Walker and Thomas White.
Troutman leads the field in fundraising due to a $2.5 million self-contribution. He has $2.7 million on hand, followed by Caldwell with $1.11 million and Grimsley with about $910,000.
The primary election is in late August.