State Sen. Jack Latvala all but confirmed he was running for something -- likely for Florida governor -- Thursday when he announced he would be making three stops across the state after declaring his intentions next Wednesday.
Latvala plans to hit three cities next Wednesday as part of his announcement. He’ll begin his tour in Hialeah, then head to Clearwater and finally will jet off to Panama City to spread the word about his future political plans.
The three areas represent key parts of the state Latvala will need in order to bring home a victory both in the Republican primary and in the general election.
Latvala currently represents Florida’s 16th Senate District, which covers parts of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. He also serves as the Senate Appropriations Chair, one of the most powerful positions in the Florida Legislature.
Even the seven-year Senate veteran’s accompanying statement sounded straight from the gubernatorial bid playbook, harping on Latvala’s commitment to serving Floridians and actually following through in accomplishing voters’ top priorities while in office.
“As a small business owner and public servant, I have a track record of getting things done and solving problems,” Latvala said. “One thing you can always expect from me too is when I give you my word, I will keep it. And on Wednesday, I give you my word, you will know what my future plans entail.”
Latvala had hinted he would make an announcement in August for months, but had announced no specific dates until mid-July. The Clearwater Republican told supporters he was waiting until this month to announce his run because of Florida’s match-for-match public financing laws which begin in September.
If Latvala opts into public matching and limiting his spending, he would be eligible to receive dollar-for-dollar matches for campaign contributions up to $250 and $250 for contributions larger than $250.
Should Latvala decide to run for governor, the law would give him a leg up since many of his donations come from smaller donors contributing less money.
Latvala would be the second big-name Republican to jump in the governor’s race if he goes all in next week.
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam was the first GOP candidate to declare he was running for governor and has been working furiously to fundraise for his campaign, already raising $17 million for his gubernatorial bid so far.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran is also said to be eyeing a run for the governor’s mansion. Corcoran hasn’t declared he’s running for governor -- yet -- but he hasn’t wasted any time reeling in the dough for a potential gubernatorial bid, raising more than $820,000 last month. Corcoran’s total fundraising haul comes out to nearly $3 million raised since May.
Latvala has also been moving full-speed ahead with his own fundraising, stuffing his war chest full of campaign cash for a possible gubernatorial bid next year.
Last month, Latvala announced he had raised $336,000 through his “Florida Leadership Committee,” leaving him with nearly $4 million in the bank before he declares his intentions next week.