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CFO Jimmy Patronis will seek four-year term in 2018

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis confirmed Wednesday what has been expected for a long time: He will seek a full four-year term in 2018.

Patronis, 45, of Panama City, is a former Public Service Commission member and Republican House member whose family name has long been synonymous with Captain Anderson’s, an iconic seafood restaurant. Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to the powerful Cabinet post following the resignation of CFO Jeff Atwater.

“Governor Scott appointed me to this post in June and I continue to work closely with him to guard your state tax dollars from fraud and abuse, and make sure government regulations are fair and predictable for Florida job creators,” Patronis wrote in a letter to friends and supporters under a letterhead that said “Join Jimmy”. “I get up every day excited to do this job. I love what I do.”

Republican state Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa has already declared his candidacy for CFO. Lee ran unsuccessfully for the position in 2006. Democrat Jeremy Ring, a former state senator from Broward County, also is in the race.

Patronis has little statewide name recognition and has never run statewide. But his alliance with the two-term governor is a valuable political asset.

Money is critical in down-ballot races for the Cabinet, and Scott is expected to give Patronis’ fund-raising efforts a big boost.

The announcement of Patronis’ candidacy, a day before a major Republican fund-raiser in Orlando on Thursday night, was made by Melissa Stone, a Scott adviser and his former campaign manager and chief of staff.