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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

John Morgan's talking tour sounds like the start of a campaign for governor

John Morgan


John Morgan



John Morgan says he hasn't decided whether to run for governor in 2018, but he sure does sound like it.

The Orlando trial lawyer is traveling the state making stops at political clubs on a talking tour (he calls politicians' usual listening tours "a bunch of B.S."). On Thursday, it brought him to Capital Tiger Bay Club in Tallahassee, where he palled around with lobbyists and politicians.

He's touting his agenda: Prison reforms, decriminalized marijuana, better prison system and a higher minimum wage. If he doesn't run, Morgan plans to back a constitutional amendment to raise the wage.

"People do not make enough money to survive," he said.

Morgan funded and chaired the Amendment 2 campaign last November, which earned 71 percent of the vote to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

That and his high name recognition "for better or worse" from $80 million in annual spending on advertising for his law firm Morgan & Morgan mean he's prepared to run, Morgan says.

"It was kind of like running a statewide race to tell you the truth," he said.

After the November election, political consultants started to convince him to run. He says he won't decide until after an upcoming vacation to St. Barts -- and he may wait until next year.

A longtime Democoratic donor, he is likely to run as a Democrat. But he may attempt an independent bid.

"I think this last election showed us that there may be a new party out there, and it may not be Democrats, it may not be Republicans," Morgan said. "What's really driving politics today is financial security."

Still, he acknowledges an independent run may not work.

As well as Morgan, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn are considering Democratic primary runs. Republicans Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate budget chair Jack Latvala are considering running.




[Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2017 1:12pm]


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