Jack Latvala, the 63-year-old Clearwater Republican, takes top honors in this year’s poll as he uses his clout as Senate Appropriations Chair after losing an epic battle for Senate President to Joe Negron.
Now in his 15th year in the Legislature, Latvala has been supportive of most of Gov. Rick Scott’s agenda, while he contemplates his own future as a possible 2018 gubernatorial nominee – possibly with the governor’s assent.
Whether he actually pulls the trigger is unknown at this time, but Latvala is dead serious about a potential run, trash talking potential opponents Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran by noting that having run a printing company, he’s got experience in the private sector.
“Neither one of them has ever had the responsibility of writing paychecks, of having people on a payroll, paying their benefits, writing their works comp premium checks,” he told Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union. “And the responsibility that comes with that helps you make decisions affecting other people that have businesses.”
Latvala was No. 2 in the 2016 survey.
Joe Henderson’s Take
“I like his ambition and his private sector background. There is no doubt he would love to challenge for the Republican nomination for governor, and he would be a strong presence in the primary. Putnam and perhaps Corcoran are standing in Latvala’s path, though, and that’s enough to make me wonder whether there is a legitimate path Latavla could follow to accomplish that goal.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.