Election Day to Bring Changes to Governor and Cabinet
The Florida Cabinet consists of the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture. Together with the Governor, these officers serve as the agency head for several Florida agencies including the Office of Insurance Regulation and Office of Financial Regulation.
Florida is in a unique position this year because Election Day guarantees to bring changes to most of these positions. Governor Rick Scott is reaching the end of his second term and therefore is precluded from seeking another term. Instead, he is running against incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. His successor will be either Democrat Andrew Gillum, the current mayor of Tallahassee, or U.S. Representative Ron Desantis, the Republican nominee.
The state’s Chief Financial Officer is the only position in which the current office holder might remain. Current CFO Jimmy Patronis, a Republican, was appointed to the position by Governor Scott when former CFO Jeff Atwater left office to accept a job at Florida Atlantic University. Patronis is running for reelection. His opponent is Democrat Jeremy Ring, who served in the Florida Senate through 2016.
The race for Attorney General consists of Republican Ashley Moody and Democrat Sean Shaw. Moody is a circuit judge and formerly served as a Assistant U.S. Attorney. Shaw works for a private law firm and serves as a state representative. Shaw served as Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate among his prior positions.
Finally, the race for Commissioner of Agriculture is between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell. Fried joined the Democratic primary in large part due to her dissatisfaction with Florida’s implementation of laws allowing medical uses of marijuana. A lawyer by training, Fried has worked in the public defender’s office and has been in the private practice of law and government affairs. Caldwell has been a member of the Florida House of Representatives since 2010.
It’s hard to say whether polls properly capture the sentiment of the electorate in the modern era. Even if they do, polls in most of these races suggest they will be tight and will create a lot of suspense on Election Day. No matter how the races turn out, we know the makeup of Florida’s Governor and Cabinet will change as significantly, or more so, than any recent election cycle.