For Brandon Patty, all signs point to 2016 congressional run to replace U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the business consultant tells Florida Politics.
The former Republican campaign staff member and Navy reservist said Friday that at the current rate “there’s no reason” he won’t be a candidate in the St. Johns County-based Congressional District 6.
Patty said his role as a consultant for Deloitte, where he analyzes new federal rules and laws for business clients, helps make him uniquely qualified for the job.
“It provides me with that understanding of the connection between constituent groups, state governments, and government generally about how in many ways, it’s unwieldy,” said Patty, saying he learned an enthusiasm for getting into the public policy weeds from observing former Gov. Jeb Bush. “Having someone there that can help navigate is an important need in our representative government.”
In talking policy, Patty hit several notes familiar to the national conservative discourse: a need to increase our focus on national defense and spending, devolving control over education policy to the local level (he opposes Common Core), and to simplify the nation’s regulatory regimes, particularly governing energy production.
Patty said he’s working alongside personal friends state Sen. Travis Hutson, former St. John’s County Commissioner Mark Miner and longtime GOP strategist Marc Reichelderfer — whom he hopes to bring aboard soon — to devise a winning path forward.
“We’ve had some great conversations and we’re encouraged by the reception we’ve received. For now, we’re continuing to explore our options to ensure the Northeast Florida has the representation that it needs as a growing region,” Patty said.
DeSantis and the 33-year-old Patty have a lot in common, as the congressional hopeful acknowledged. Both are far younger than the average lawmaker and both are staunchly conservative naval officers, though Desantis was a Harvard-trained JAG lawyer while Patty followed a more business-oriented path, earning a master’s degree in business from the London School of Economics in 2011.
Also among Patty’s early boosters: Republican State Leadership Conference chairman emeritus and 2014 Virginia senatorial nominee Ed Gillespie, who Patty said Friday is “fully on board and supportive.” Patty was an adviser to Gillespie’s campaign last year.
Patty also was special assistant for Northeast Florida under then-Gov. Bush and as a top campaign aide to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s 2010 senatorial run against independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek in 2010.
If he supports either Bush or Rubio in 2016, he isn’t saying so as of yet.