Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater's announcement over the weekend that he has applied to become Florida Atlantic University's next president is inspiring all types of scenarios about who might vie for his position if he does leave the Cabinet level office.
Currently Atwater appears to be a shoo-in for re-election this fall. The only declared Democrat in the race, William Rankin, appears to have zero insurance experience. His entrance into the race comes after the rather unsuccessful Allie Braswell experiment.
A local Democrat who says he does have an interest in the position is Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner — but not just yet.
"I haven't given any of that any thought," he told CL on Monday. "I saw what he [Atwater] was going to be doing. I think a lot of that hinges on whether he gets the job or not. Obviously if he does not get the job I would assume that he's going to continue to run for re-election."
Beckner was re-elected to his countywide seat in 2012, easily defeating Tea Party Republican Margaret Iuculano, and still has nearly three years on the job in Hillsborough. He says he still hasn't made any definitive decisions about what he intends to do next.
"I still have a very full agenda that I'm working on for Hillsborough as a commissioner, so as soon as we get through this year and start getting into next year, we'll start looking at the next steps," he says.
But what about running for CFO — if not this year, then in 2018? Is that on his political radar?
"I think it's a very important job for the people of Florida, especially when you're dealing with the issues of insurance and solvency of the state," Beckner responded. "On many of those issues I'm very familiar and it's something that I do have an interest in."