Adam Putnam's campaign for governor is piling up money and is poised for a formal kickoff this week. But Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran tells the Buzz he won't decide on a run for governor until after the 2018 legislative session ends next March.
The Land O'Lakes Republican said he will create a political committee this summer to raise money. But no matter what, the only office he would consider running for is governor. Speculation that he could ultimately decide to run for attorney general or U.S. Senate? Simply wrong.
"Those are the only two choices — governor or not run for office," he said.
As Florida House speaker, Corcoran should be able to raise big money from companies and individuals with legislative interests, but as a non-candidate he at least initially will be raising it for a nebulous purpose.
"If I can't raise the money, I can't raise the money, and if I raise the money and I don't want to run for governor, I don't run for governor. I'll use it for constitutional amendments, I'll use it for helping real conservatives, or I'll turn it over to the (Republican) Party," Corcoran said.
Unless you're someone like Rick Scott who can personally drop $75 million on a race, launching a campaign so late would normally be a huge disadvantage. Corcoran said that doesn't concern him.
"I do pretty well being unconventional," he said.
It looks increasingly unlikely that Attorney General Pam Bondi will be leaving Tallahassee for a job in President Donald Trump's administration and leaving the governor to appoint the next attorney general. Florida House Speaker Corcoran has ruled out running for the office to be vacated after Bondi is term-limited in 2018, and other leading Republican contenders are now looking at other jobs.
So where's that leave us? At this point, the likeliest candidates seem to be recently resigned Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, 42, and state Rep. Jay Fant, 49, of Jacksonville. The most prominent political figure in the mix is Florida Senate President Joe Negron, 55, who is still a big question mark.
The Democratic side has been quieter on the attorney general front. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler is a leading contender.
Steve Bousquet contributed to this week's Buzz.