State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, is running for governor.
On Friday, the Clearwater Republican officially filed paperwork for a campaign account to run for the state’s highest office. Soon after the news broke, Latvala posted a tweet of a young boy decked out in Tampa Bay Rays gear, who he said had “filed his papers.”
Latvala’s son, state Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, then posted a tweet of what appeared to be Latvala’s official campaign logo, confirming he was running for governor.
— Chris Latvala (@ChrisLatvala) August 11, 2017
The new candidate all but confirmed he was running for something 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 is scheduled to 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.
Latvala currently represents Florida’s 16th Senate District, which covers parts of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. He chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee which gives him 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 his 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.
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. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., is also a possible gubernatorial candidate.
Latvala has also been moving ahead with his own fundraising, stuffing his war chest full of campaign cash for a gubernatorial bid.
Last month, Latvala announced he had raised $336,000 through his “Florida Leadership Committee,” leaving him with nearly $4 million cash on hand.