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Gov. Scott taps a friend and supporter as next financial chief

26 June 2017

Scott on Monday will announce he's appointing Republican Jimmy Patronis to replace Jeff Atwater as chief financial officer.

Patronis, who helped his family run a well-known Panama City restaurant, now sits on the panel that regulates utilities. "In the state senate, I worked diligently for 10 years to plant the seeds of an innovation economy right here in Florida, and as your next CFO, I want to bring that project to term through continued investment in innovation on every level - from our universities to the labor market". Patronis, 45, backed Scott during his initial run for governor seven years ago when many in the GOP establishment were supporting then-Attorney General Bill McCollum in the primary.

"The role is to be a full-time officer of the state of Florida", Patronis said.

"I am honored to be appointed as Florida's next CFO".

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In a rare opportunity, Scott has the chance to appoint someone to the four-member Cabinet who will nearly assuredly vote in lockstep with him moving forward.

"I support Rick Scott", Neal said in an email.

Scott will also make announcements in Tampa and Pensacola.

After Atwater announced he would leave the CFO post, numerous names were mentioned as possible replacements They included Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former state Rep. Tom Grady of Naples, state Sens. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was seen as a top candidate, but he decided against seeking the job.

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A big question is whether Patronis will be able to run for the job in 2018 with no other Republican opposition.

Patronis will be sworn in Friday during a ceremony in Tallahassee. The position serves as the state's treasurer and oversees various agencies that serve to regulate insurance and financial industries in Florida. But the two clashed previous year over who should become the state's insurance commissioner. Jeremy Ring, a former state legislator and executive at Yahoo, is the only Democrat to file as of this posting.

In March, Patronis was among a number of political loyalists the governor appointed to the state Constitution Revision Commission.

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Gov. Scott taps a friend and supporter as next financial chief