Palm Beach billionaire not ruling out run for governor

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene hasn’t shut the door on a Democratic bid for governor.

Billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene — ranked 62 spots higher than Palm Beach neighbor Donald Trump on the latest Forbes 400 list — says he’d like to be Florida governor and thinks he’d be effective in the job.

“It would be a blast. I think I could really make a difference,” Democrat Greene said Wednesday of the governorship.

But Greene, who lost a 2010 Democratic primary bid for U.S. Senate, said he has major reservations about running for office and the toll it would take on his family.

He said he’ll make a final decision by the spring.

“If it was just my wife and me, I would do this in a minute,” said Greene, who has three young children.

Greene brought pundits, politicians and business leaders to a “Managing the Disruption” conference on technology and the economy this year in Palm Beach and says he has a better “understanding of where the economy is and where it’s going” than other candidates.

Greene said he’s talked with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham and likely candidate Philip Levine, the Miami Beach mayor who’s also a multimillionaire.

“I think they could both be successful governors,” Greene said. But Greene says he has a better grasp of modern economic affairs.

“We’re heading into treacherous waters. I don’t think that any of these guys really get it,” Greene said.

None of the Democrats running to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott has caught fire with voters or donors.

A recent Florida Chamber of Commerce poll found 44 percent of Florida Democrats undecided on a candidate for governor and 23 percent favoring trial lawyer John Morgan, who hasn’t said whether he’ll run. Graham led among declared Democrats with 16 percent in the chamber poll. In September, declared and potential Republican candidates for governor and their associated committees outraised Democratic candidates and committees by a 5-to-1 margin.

That’s why Greene doesn’t seem pressed to make a final decision on running yet.

“Nobody’s interested in this race now,” Greene said.

 

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