Contending property insurance availability and rates are out of control and no one in Tallahassee is doing anything about it, former Democratic state Rep. Adam Hattersley is launching a campaign for Chief Financial Officer.
Hattersley, 43, of Riverview, said his paperwork will be filed Tuesday to challenge CFO Jimmy Patronis, who is seeking a second full term. Hattersley is the first major Democratic candidate to file for any of the three non-gubernatorial Cabinet positions for the 2022 General Election.
Hattersley’s candidacy was first reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida.
A former Navy submarine officer and a veteran of the Iraq War who was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in combat, Hattersley flipped the long Republican-held House District 59 seat in the 2018 election. He then ran for Congress in Florida’s 15th Congressional District in 2020 but lost in the Democratic Primary Election.
He also penned a book about his entry into politics, The Accidental Politician.
“It’s introduced me to a lot of people and players around the state, relationships that are going to be needed to run a race like this. What it really comes down to is my whole background in the nuclear Navy, serving on the ground with an Army unit in Iraq. Most of my professional life has been about service,” Hattersley said. “That’s what this is all about.”
He already has drawn the endorsement of the state’s last Democratic CFO, Alex Sink.
“Adam Hattersley is a proven leader. In these uncertain times, we need a CFO who is focused on protecting the financial strength and viability of our state’s investments, protecting our citizens from financial and insurance fraud, and making certain the insurance industry is not raising property and health insurance rates without concern for the financial well-being of our citizens,” Sink said in a news release. “Someone needs to serve in Tallahassee who will hold the politicians accountable for our money, and be our citizens’ watchdog. This office should NOT be used for political pandering and promoting agendas unrelated to the business of the department and the Florida Cabinet. We need a CFO who understands safeguarding the people’s money … not focused on out-of-state political agendas.”
Hattersley intends to go after Patronis on the decaying market of property insurance in Florida, saying that the current CFO — and pretty much all of Tallahassee — isn’t doing enough about it.
“Right now property insurance rates are just going through the roof. The CFO’s office is supposed to be that firewall between Floridians and these predatory insurance rates. And nobody has been protecting Floridians for the past four or five years, that I’ve been able to see,” Hattersley said.
“I’ve been hearing it from people from the right, from the left, it transcends party. This is affecting everybody. We need somebody in that office who is willing to stand up and fight for every Floridian, instead of being silent, or worse, fighting for the insurance companies,” he added.
Two other Democrats have filed for the job: Tyrone Noel Javellana of Hollywood and Karla Jones of Orlando.
Hattersley said his campaign is ready, with a “team in place, ready to go.”
“There’s been a lot of excitement from local officials across the state, all the way up and down from Democratic leadership, even local business leaders across the state, clergy across the state. Everyone is excited to see me run,” Hattersley said.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t see a path to victory.”
Hattersley also is seeking to position himself as a moderate Democrat, the kind that flipped a Republican district and also won the backing of the moderate congressional Blue Dog Coalition when he ran for Congress.
He intends to paint Patronis as a far-right politician.
“Jimmy has the lowest name ID. He is the most vulnerable member of the Cabinet. He’s one of the most farthest radical right. This is one of those positions that people don’t want to see crazy radical right. They don’t want mega-mega-liberal. They just want someone to do the job and protect their own pocketbooks,” Hattersley said.