State Sen. Jack Latvala continues to make moves that suggest he is serious about running for governor in 2018.
A political committee the Clearwater Republican runs is scheduled to meet on Sunday at 5 p.m. on Treasure Island with group of top political consultants. Latvala told the Times/Herald last week that his interest in running for governor is real and he expects to make a decision later in the summer.
Latvala has raised $8.2 million in that political committee, called the Florida Leadership Committee, since 2013. He has spent $5 million of that, leaving him with more than $3 million in the committee. That puts him well behind fellow Republican Adam Putnam, who has already declared for the governors race. Putnam has raised $11.4 million for the political committee he calls Florida Grown. He has spent about $3.1 million, leaving him with $8.3 million in the committee.
While Latvala is hardly a household name statewide, his long tenure in Tampa Bay politics would be a key part of any decision on whether he runs. The Tampa Bay area represents more than one-quarter of the Republican electorate in a potential primary race. Latvala was in the Florida Senate from 1994 to 2002 and then was elected again in 2010 and has been in office since.
PHOTO: State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater (SCOTT KEELER/Tampa Bay Times)