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On Thursday, former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, whose name had been generating buzz as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2018,
slammed the door on that possibility.
Weatherford left no room for doubt that he would not seek the Republican nod in a statement released on Thursday afternoon.
"I have decided that my role in the 2018 gubernatorial election should be as a private citizen and not as a candidate," Weatherford said. "My focus right now is on raising my family, living out my faith, and growing my family's business. I look forward to supporting Republican candidates that share my conservative convictions and can keep Florida headed in the right direction."
Weatherford has been active with a number of business and political groups including the Republican State Leadership Committee, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Sunshine Bankcorp, the National Coalition for Capital, the U.S. Global Leadership Collation, the Aspen Institute, Take Stock in Children and Jobs for America's Graduates. He's also with Weatherford Partners.
Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense, Weatherford's father-in-law, insisted on Thursday that his fellow former legislative leader will benefit from staying on the sidelines in 2018.
"For Will, I know this was not an easy decision to make, but it's a decision that is right for him at this juncture in life," Bense said. "I have no doubt that when the time is right for him and his family, Will will answer Florida's call and return to public service. His core conservative principles are rock solid and his commitment to doing what's right - even when unpopular - will never go out of style.
"I am also pleased to see Will engaging in the world of free enterprise," Bense added. "It will ultimately make him a better leader. As I like to say, you learn a lot when you get your nose busted a couple of times in the business world. I firmly believe that the next chapter of his political life has yet to be written.
"Florida's loss is our family's gain," Bense concluded. "We enjoy the time we spend with Will, Courtney, and their four wonderful children. I look forward to seeing what's in store for Will down the road."
With Gov. Rick Scott facing term limits in 2018 and Weatherford now staying out of the race, some of the Republicans who could run for governor include Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Possible Democratic candidates include retiring U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and attorney John Morgan.
Source: Sunshine State News