- March 3, 2017
Why it matters: Florida's self-proclaimed jobs governor, Rick Scott, is leaving office at the end of 2018. A Republican has held the seat since 1999: Jeb Bush for two terms, Charlie Crist for one term and Scott for two terms.
For a political newcomer when he won the state's gubernatorial race in 2010, Rick Scott has risen quickly. The Republican hasn't officially declared his candidacy, but many political pundits expect he will challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate in November.
While that race will garner lots of headlines, the election for Florida's next governor will also dominate political news in 2018. Chatter will likely percolate throughout the year, and candidates have until June to officially file for the race, leading up to the August primaries for both parties. Scott, for example, didn't declare his candidacy until April 2010.
Out of people who have already declared their candidacy, Republican Adam Putnam, a former U.S. congressman and current state agriculture commissioner, is generally considered the frontrunner. On the opposite side, one of the more well-known candidates, at least by last name, is Gwen Graham, also a former member of Congress. Graham's father, Bob Graham, was governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987 and a U.S. senator from 1987 to 2005.
But by following the Scott timeline, two names will continue to surface as possible candidates — until the deadline passes or they officially get in the race. On the Republican side, it's Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes. Corcoran battled with dozens of economic development and tourism agencies in 2017, with a follow-the-taxpayers'-money strategy. On the Democrat side, even though he's publicly said he won't run, trial lawyer John Morgan draws heavy interest.