Long talked of for some kind of higher office, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater says he won’t be on any ballot next election cycle.
Atwater recently confided to members of the Florida Council of 100 that he wouldn’t be seeking another elected office as his term-limited time as CFO winds down. He’s set to step down in 2018, after two terms in the Cabinet post.
Instead, Atwater, a former North Palm Beach legislator and Senate president, said he’s looking forward to serving the state outside the confines of a political office.
Atwater’s move comes as angling to succeed Gov. Rick Scott is already developing. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is viewed as a certain candidate and front-runner, while former state House Speaker Will Weatherford said he’s also making up his mind.
Supporters of Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, who spearheaded the medical marijuana ballot effort in Florida, are also trying to get him to run, likely as a Democrat.
Meanwhile, Scott is seen as a challenger to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, who is up for re-election in 2018.
Atwater, 58, last year stayed out of what was a short-lived scramble of Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate seat initially abandoned by Sen. Marco Rubio during his presidential run. Rubio was re-elected last Tuesday.
Atwater also made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency of Florida Atlantic University in 2014.