Entrepreneur and combat veteran Todd Wilcox enters Florida’s U.S. Senate race

in 2017/Top Headlines by

While political observers await for another politician to join Jacksonville U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the race for the Republican nomination for Senate in 2016, Todd Wilcox, an Orlando businessman and former combat soldier and CIA official, announced today that he is a candidate to succeed Marco Rubio in Washington.

“I am not a politician and I’m not a lawyer. I’ve never held public office,” Wilcox says in his announcement video. “I see this not as a job or a career move but the next evolutionary step in service to my country, just as our founding fathers envisioned. I am fed up with the status quo of career politicians and I am running for the U.S. Senate to restore America’s prominence.”

A  graduate of Tampa’s Robinson High School and the University of Tampa,  Wilcox has had an extensive career in the U.S. military and the CIA before going into the private sector in 2006.

After earning his degree in finance, Todd was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army. according to his website (ToddWilcox2016.com). He then went on to serve as a rifle platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He later transferred to the U.S. Army Special Forces branch and earned a Green Beret for commanding a Special Forces A-team in a counterterrorism role in East Asia.

After eight years in the Army, he resigned to work with the CIA, and served in various U.S. Embassy postings   in the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2006, Todd left government service and created Patriot Defense Group (PDG), a defense contracting company. He later founded two other companies and the combined business operations over the past nine years range from specialized security training for U.S. special operations to defending corporate clients against cyber-security attacks and the ground delivery of the U.S. Postal Service mail to our troops in Afghanistan.

In anticipation of his entry into the race, Wilcox last week resigned from his job  as CEO of his most recent company, Patriot Capital, a military and law-enforcement contractor.

Wilcox is by no means the last Republican to enter this Senate race. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is scheduled to make an announcement next week about his intentions for the contest, and all indications appear that he’s in. Panhandle-area U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller is also reported to be close to entering the contest. Pinellas County U.S. Rep. David Jolly should be making an announcement any day now on whether or not he’ll remain in his CD13 seat or run for the Senate seat.

“As a father, businessman and combat veteran, I am fed up with the status quo and I’m fed up with career politicians who care more about re-election or the next higher office than they do about their neighbors. That’s why I am declaring my candidacy for the U.S. Senate,” said Wilcox.

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.