After Joe Abruzzo turned down a run to return to the Senate, the former lawmaker now says he’s considering a campaign to be the next Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.
“This is a public service job I have been looking at for many years,” Abruzzo said in a statement to Florida Politics.
“My time in the Senate and the House mirrored much of the responsibilities at the state level of this office, from my time as Audit Committee Chairman, Vice Chairman of Finance and Tax, democratic ranking member on Ways and Means, serving on the Justice Appropriations Committee that funded the judicial branch and working on our overall $80 billion-plus annual budget for a decade, which included funding the Clerk and Comptroller’s office.”
Abruzzo, a former member of the Coast Guard, most recently represented House District 81 from 2016-2018, which covers portions of southern Palm Beach County.
Abruzzo also served the region for four years in the House from 2008-2012. He then won the race for Senate District 25 in 2012 and served one term.
In addition to his work pulling state funding back to the region, Abruzzo also passed around 50 different bills into law during his time in the Legislature. That history includes Abruzzo’s work on the law to set up the Silver Alert system, which helps authorities find missing adults.
After going through a rough divorce, Abruzzo stepped away from state politics in 2018 to raise his young son.
At the local level, Abruzzo also has experience working as an administrative assistant at the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, 4th district. There, Abruzzo managed attorneys and staff for the 15th, 17th and 19th Judicial Circuits.
Abruzzo was rumored as a potential candidate for Senate District 29 and Sen. Kevin Rader stepped away from his reelection effort. Abruzzo declined a bid for that seat, but says he’s been encouraged to consider a run for Palm Beach County Clerk.
“I have been speaking with community leaders across the county: union organizations, former colleagues and friends from all levels of government and most importantly, my family,” Abruzzo said.
“If the conclusion is to run, we most likely will enter the race with overwhelming support and the resources to run a competitive campaign for the position.”
Current Clerk Sharon Bock has served in that role for four straight terms. She announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection.
Instead, Bock has endorsed Shannon Chessman as her preferred successor. Chessman works under Bock as the office’s chief operating officer. So far, Chessman is the only candidate to file for the seat.