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Race For Florida's CFO Heating Up

Patronis ring
Jeremy Ring / Jimmy Patronis

As Election Day gets closer, key races for positions like Florida’s Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner are closely watched. Yet the race for the state’s Chief Financial Officer appears to be flying under the radar.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer is rarely in the headlines. But the seat could be important to Democrats this election cycle. Democrats haven’t held a statewide seat since 2006, when Alex Sink was Florida’s CFO.

The CFO is a member of the cabinet, oversees the state’s finances, licenses insurance agencies, serves as the trustee of the state’s retirement fund and is the Fire Marshal.

Facing off this election cycle are Republican Jimmy Patronis, the state’s current CFO, and Democrat Jeremy Ring. Governor Rick Scott appointed Patronis in June of 2017 after Jeff Atwater resigned early to take a job at Florida Atlantic University.

Patronis says his priorities include supporting first responders, cracking down on insurance fraud, and promoting fiscal responsibility.

“I’m a consummate believer that the citizens of the state of Florida spend their own money better than Tallahassee does,” aruges Patronis.

Patronis touts 800 insurance fraud arrests, a new law granting worker’s compensation to first responders with PTSD and work with insurance claims after Hurricane Irma as accomplishments since he took office.

“The reality of it is I’ve done the job for the last 11 months, the state is in better condition now than it was when I took the job, and Jeremy can’t own any of that,” say Patronis. 

Meanwhile Jeremy Ring wants to lower insurance rates, protect the Florida Retirement System and make Florida a competitive technology market like California. He says the CFO shouldn’t be political or partisan.

Ring’s key message: qualifications matter. 

“I’m the most fiscally responsible," says Ring. "I have the deepest business experience. I’m the most qualified. I’ve worked with very large numbers.”

Ring cites his business experience as an executive at Yahoo. He also served in the Florida Legislature as a Senator, and chaired the Governmental Oversight and Accountability committee, which has oversight of the Florida Retirement Fund.

A recent poll shows the race in a statistical tie. 

Shawn Mulcahy is a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU. He graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with majors in public relations and political science. He was previously an intern at WFSU, and worked as an Account Coordinator at RB Oppenheim Associates.