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Jimmy Patronis will decide on 2018 run in ‘next 30 days’

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Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has told his hometown television station he will decide “in the next 30 days” whether to run for a full term in 2018.

Patronis, a former state representative, stepped down from the Public Service Commission (PSC) when Gov. Rick Scott appointed him two months ago to serve the remainder of former CFO Jeff Atwater‘s second term. Atwater left early to become the CFO of Florida Atlantic University.

Patronis, in a Wednesday interview with Panama City’s WJHG Newschannel 7, said his “intention is to make a decision soon.”

“I would say I would make up my mind in the next 30 days,” the 45-year-old Republican told the station. His spokeswoman was not immediately available Thursday morning for further comment.

Patronis has opened a new political committee, Treasure Florida, and Scott is hosting a fundraiser for it Sept. 28 in Orlando.

“You know, it’s humbling. He’s a mentor. Gov. Scott has found a friend in me; I know I have found a larger-than-life friend in my world, from him,” he told WJHG.

Patronis was one of Scott’s earliest and most vocal backers when he ran for his first term as governor. Scott repaid that loyalty with appointments to the PSC—a $131,000 yearly position—and the volunteer Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years to review and suggest changes to the state’s governing document.

Upon his June appointment, Patronis stepped down from both positions. He’s paid nearly $129,000 a year as CFO.

Scott has said he would do everything he could to help Patronis win, even if he has to compete with state Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican and former Senate President, for the GOP nomination. Lee, who is term-limited in the Senate next year, has said he is considering filing to run for CFO later this year.

Patronis will “have about a year and a half to be in office,” Scott said. “I know he’s considering whether he’s going to run or not. If he runs, I’m going to be a big supporter.”

Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Broward County Democrat and former Yahoo executive, is currently the only declared candidate for CFO.

(Florida Politics correspondent Drew Wilson contributed to this post.)

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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