Most underrated gov candidate could be Chris King
Chris King, a 38-year-old lawyer, bleeding-heart businessman, Harvard graduate and Jesus-loving philanthropist, by all accounts is gifted and creative. But it’s not clear he fully grasps how nuts it is to throw much of his family’s nest egg into a campaign for Florida governor when nobody knows who he is and he has virtually no experience in government or campaigns.
“People might confuse his face for just another businessman, but Chris King’s not afraid to tackle really big problems. The guy doesn’t get fazed,” said Gio Continenza, who is a rising sophomore at Wake Forest University thanks to a program King established to help low-income, high-performing high schoolers attend elite colleges.
In his airy, Winter Park corner office sprinkled with photos of children he has helped educate and feed in Haiti, Africa and Orange County, King sounds at times like a naïve Boy Scout eager to do good and at others like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with no patience for half measures and small ideas.
To dramatically shift Florida’s economic development agenda, he wants to “jump start funds” to seed homegrown businesses and entrepreneurs with small grants, create “ready, aim, hire” job training institutes at community colleges, and would insist Tallahassee face what he calls an affordable housing crisis. Driven by his Christian faith, King would push to expand access to health care and fight for anti-discrimination protections for gay Floridians.
“I want to change the way Florida looks and feels,” said King, who becomes especially animated when discussing granular economic data. “I want four years to shoot for the stars. I want this to be a transformative period for Florida. I want to be someone people say has the DNA to do big things. To me, that’s the only way the sacrifice of this makes sense.”
In a diverse group of Democrats running for governor, he looks like the most unconventional and underrated of the bunch.