High praise for one high-profile GOP'er for skipping convention
Quick, now, as in Quicken Loans Arena: Who's the only statewide elected Republican state official in Florida not attending the party's convention in Cleveland?
That would be Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who was at work in South Florida Monday before heading back to Tallahassee.
Atwater has the distinction of being the highest vote-getter in each of the past two mid-term elections. He got nearly 3 million votes in 2010 and 3.4 million in 2014. But he had no interest in going to the convention, and told a Republican club in Sarasota that he wouldn't be endorsing Donald Trump "any time soon," and that was in March. Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi will speak to the convention and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is there too.
Atwater did not respond to a request for comment. He must leave the CFO's office in 2018 because of term limits and would be a potent candidate for governor or U.S. Senate, two offices open in the next cycle. The former Senate president from Palm Beach County is known for his cautious, methodical approach, but his snub of the convention brought praise from J.M. (Mac) Stipanovich, the Tallahassee Republican strategist and long-time lobbyist, who has been one of the most vocal critics of Trump.
"That is one of the most stand-up and principled things I've ever seen Jeff Atwater do. I'm proud of him for not running in front of the crowd," Stipanovich said. "He has realized that his colleagues (Scott, Bondi and Putnam) are wrong, and I'm proud of him."