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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ex-Sen. Lisa Carlton considering run for state Ag Commissioner



Add former State Sen. Lisa Carlton to the list of potential candidates for statewide office in 2018.

Hours after Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, announced she was running for Florida Agriculture commissioner, Carlton confirmed to the Times/Herald that she is weighing getting into the contest as well. Orlando Republican Paul Paulson has also filed for the seat.

Carlton, a Sarasota County Republican and rancher, was in the Florida Senate from 1998 to 2008. She said since then she has stepped completely away from politics to focus on raising her family and her family's citrus and cattle ranch businesses.

But with her children off to college, Carlton said she's been talking to allies about getting back into politics and running for commissioner of agriculture.

"I'm seriously considering running for agriculture commissioner," Carlton said.

Carlton knows first hand about the struggles of Florida's citrus industry. She said her ranch has about 100 acres affected by greening, the disease that has ravaged Florida orange groves.

"It's devastating," Carlton, 52, said of the planting and re-planting her family has gone through trying to save their groves.

Though Carlton served 14 years in the Legislature between the House and the Senate, she said she's been away from the process for so long she sees herself as more of an outsider now.

Carlton said she would have backed former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, if he had run. But Crisafulli announced at the beginning of January that he was going to pass on the race.

Current agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam faces term limits in 2018 and cannot seek re-election to the post. He is expected to run for governor in 2018.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 5:57pm]


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