The Republican State Leadership Committee announced Friday that former House Speaker Will Weatherford has joined the organization’s Board of Directors. In a statement released this morning, former Florida Attorney General and RSLC Chairman Bill McCollum welcomed his old home state colleague:
“I am thrilled to welcome Will to our Board of Directors,” said McCollum. “Electing new, talented Republicans to state legislative chambers remains among the RSLC’s top priorities, and Will’s knowledge from his four consecutive terms with the Florida House of Representatives will be extremely valuable to our mission.”
Weatherford has tried to maintain a low public profile since handing over the Speaker’s gavel to Steve Crisafulli, but speculation about his political future has continued apace. He opened up a business consultancy earlier this year with his brothers Sam Weatherford and former Florida State University quarterback Drew Weatherford and has largely steered speculation on his future towards the private sector. The announcement today was Weatherford’s first gesture in the opposite direction, though he never rules out the possibility of appearing on the ballot in Florida again sometime.
“The RSLC set the bar incredibly high with record-breaking down-ballot victories around the country in 2014,” said Weatherford Friday. “I look forward to finding ways to build on their many accomplishments as a member of the Board of Directors.”
POLITICO reported last year on a shakeup within in the group, founded in 2002 as a repository for soft campaign cash for state-level GOP candidates. A group of Attorneys General and their advocates felt that they had outgrown the RSLC and broke started a spinoff group called Republican Attorneys General Association, an analog of the powerful Republican Governors Association. RAGA made national headlines last year when questions surrounding possibly inappropriate relationships to sitting public officials including Pam Bondi began to swirl.
The way McCollum, himself a former attorney general, navigates the 2016 campaign cycle will be key to RSLC’s reputation going forward and whether its up-and-down-the-ballot approach will be left behind in favor of its cabinet-level rival factions. The acquisition of Weatherford — widely seen as a possible candidate for governor, Congress and U.S. Senate — will likely lend credibility to those efforts.