Chris King bills himself as ‘progressive entrepreneur’ as he prepares to enter 2018 gubernatorial race

in 2017 by

The 2018 political campaign gets a little more interesting this week when 38-year-old Central Florida businessman Chris King officially enters the contest for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

“As many of you are probably aware, next Tuesday I will be launching my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Governor, and I look forward traveling all around this state getting to know so many of you,” King told a gathering of statewide Democrats Saturday night at the Florida Democratic Party’s DCCA Retreat.

“We can win this race in 2018, and I want to be the type of candidate that makes that possible and gets you excited again about what is possible in Florida,” King said.

King is a complete political unknown in Florida, having served exclusively in the private sector as the founder and CEO of Elevation Financial Group, a private equity real estate investment company. In his brief remarks via video, he billed himself as a “progressive entrepreneur.”

“I started a company from scratch that creates safe, clean affordable housing for seniors and working families all over Florida and across the Southeast,” he said. “It’s a company that reflects my values that I am proud of that has taught me discipline and hard work and taken on big challenges and doing big things.”

King’s entry into the race this week will make him the second Democrat to officially enter into the 2018 sweepstakes for Governor for Florida, following Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s entry into the race a month ago. Videos introducing Gillum and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (still considering a run) also aired (Levine appeared at the event earlier).

Gwen Graham, another potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, worked the event hard on Saturday at the retreat, attending 14 of the 16 individual caucus meetings held at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park .

Graham began her remarks by saying that an announcement about her political ambitions would be coming “very soon.” The former U.S. Representative ditched her prepared speech and, instead, informed the audience that her husband, Steve Hurm, is doing “very well” in his battle with cancer.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.