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Patronis drops out of Senate race against Matt Gaetz

Rep. Matt Gaetz's plan to suceed his father, Senate President Don Gaetz, just got a little easier. The Fort Walton Beach Republican's main competition is dropping out of the race.

Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, said he wants to spend more time with his family and will not run against Gaetz in 2016, according to this report from the Panama City News Herald:

State Rep. Jimmy Patronis has announced he is withdrawing from the 2016 state Senate race.

Patronis, R-Panama City, declared himself as a candidate in December but now says he wants to spend more time with his family. He isn’t ruling out future runs at public office, but for now he wants to focus on those he loves the most and finish out his final year in the Florida House of Representatives.

“Trying to serve three different causes — my family, my business that pays the bills and the Legislature — was just more than I could really do well in,” Patronis said. “I knew, first and foremost, being a good dad and a good husband needs to be my priorities.”

Patronis said eight years of commitment to public office is “enough at this time.”

Read more here.

Gov. Rick Scott just issued a statement praising Patronis, who will leave office in 2014 because of term limits: 

“Representative Patronis has been an incredible ally in our mission to improve the quality of life for families in the Sunshine State. Thanks to his hard work, Florida families today have access to more jobs, a better education system and a lower cost of living. We have worked together to deliver incredible wins for Florida families - by eliminating the tax on manufacturing equipment that hindered job growth and providing Florida teachers a well-deserved pay raise. I look forward to continuing to work with Jimmy as we fight to create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families.”