George P. Bush, the eloquent oldest son of Gov. Jeb Bush, claimed center stage Tuesday after filing the paperwork for his father to seek a second term.
"More than anything else, I am here because of passion, my dad's passion, to serve the people of Florida," George P. told reporters gathered outside the state Division of Elections offices.
The younger Bush said his father, who is in England promoting Florida trade, has worked relentlessly for three years and wants to do the things necessary to "make Florida better than it has ever been before."
The 26-year-old law student said he will play a minor role in the campaign while he finishes his last year of law school. He said he has no plans to run for political office.
"I'm not too sure I will run; I enjoy helping out my father and my uncle," he told reporters as he waited to file his father's paperwork. "My priorities are making it for myself, maybe in the law, maybe business, maybe one day I will have a family. But right now I am in a supporting role. I'll leave running to the pros."
George P. Bush attracted headlines and made People magazine's "Top 100 Eligible Bachelors" list two years ago after his uncle, President Bush, identified him as the family star at a political gathering.
On Tuesday he also filed his father's financial disclosure reports. Those reports indicate the governor's net worth has declined from more than $2-million to about $1.5-million in the past year. The decline in the governor's assets occurred in mutual funds held in a trust valued at $1.6-million a year ago and $1.1-million as of Dec. 31.
Sen. Daryl Jones, D-Miami, also qualified for the governor's race Tuesday.
"By the way folks, I am not filing for agriculture commissioner," Jones joked as he filed his papers. Some Democrats had been urging Jones to switch races so Republican Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson would have a better-known opponent.
The only black candidate for statewide office, Jones said minorities generally win about one-third of the vote. He believes he can be successful in a three-way Democratic primary because there is no runoff; the top finisher wins the nomination even if he or she wins less than half the votes.
Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno formally qualified Monday. Tampa lawyer Bill McBride, the other prominent Democrat in the race for governor, plans to qualify today.
Qualifying for state offices ends at noon Friday.