Broward’s Jeremy Ring assessing viability of running for governor in 2018

He’s part of the top 1 percent — at a time when much of the Democratic base has embraced the populist left.

He’s been an elected officials for 10 years — as the political energy is with the outsiders.

He’s mapping out a possible candidacy for governor — at the same time a candidate with one of the most storied names in Florida politics is readying her own run.

Jeremy Ring acknowledges it won’t be easy. But he thinks his experience from high tech business to the Florida Senate could give him a good shot at the Democratic nomination for the state’s top job — in 2018.

Gwen Graham drops re-election bid, considering run for governor

Gwen Graham drops re-election bid, considering run for governor

The daughter of former senator and governor Bob Graham will leave Congress next year and consider trying to follow her father’s footsteps into the governor’s mansion.

Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee announced Thursday that she wouldn’t run for re-election — a move that’s been widely predicted…

The daughter of former senator and governor Bob Graham will leave Congress next year and consider trying to follow her father’s footsteps into the governor’s mansion.

Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee announced Thursday that she wouldn’t run for re-election — a move that’s been widely predicted…

(Brendan Farrington)

Ring said in an interview that if he runs, he’d be the opposite. He promised to run a campaign that would eschew bland speeches filled with poll-tested, consultant-written talking points.

Right now, Ring is assessing the viability of run for governor. What that means — more than two years before the August 2018 primary — is figuring out whether he’d be able to raise the kind of money he’d need to mount a successful campaign. A decision is likely to come after this year’s presidential election and before the end of next year’s first quarter.

“It takes tens of millions of dollars. I know I have the best bio. And I know I have the best message. You have to be able to afford to get your message out to the public.”

Senator explains why many legislators fail to win statewide elections

Senator explains why many legislators fail to win statewide elections Time and time again, members of the Florida Senate (and sometimes the Florida House of Representatives and U.S. House) attempt to make the leap to statewide office.

A few win, but many lose. Most of them fade away.

(Remember failed Democratic governor candidates Jim Davis and Rod Smith. Remember…

Time and time again, members of the Florida Senate (and sometimes the Florida House of Representatives and U.S. House) attempt to make the leap to statewide office.

A few win, but many lose. Most of them fade away.

(Remember failed Democratic governor candidates Jim Davis and Rod Smith. Remember…

(Anthony Man)

Ring isn’t alone. Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach may run.

In a bid to get media attention in Florida on the heels of Gov. Rick Scott’s economic development trip to California, Levine on Thursday unveiled radio ads. Levine’s spots — running in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento — counter Scott’s view and tout a higher minimum wage.

A formidable likely Democratic candidate is U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, the daughter of Bob Graham, the former governor and U.S. senator. She has a strong fundraising network from her 2014 candidacy in which she raised money from across the state to help her defeat incumbent Republican Steve Southerland.

She is the only Democratic who comes into the race with a name far more familiar to donors and voters than any of the party’s other potential candidates.

Name recognition is one of the biggest challenges for a statewide candidate in a mega-state like Florida. The state has 10 media markets. Regional candidates like Buckhorn, Levine and Ring are unknown outside their home territories.

Scott can’t run for re-election because of term limits and is a possible candidate for U.S. Senate. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is expected to seek the Republican nomination for governor, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater could also run. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and state Attorney General Pam Bondi have said they aren’t running, but have more than two years to make a final decision.

With a net worth of $13.7 million and an income of $1.2 million in 2014, Ring is one of the wealthiest members of the Legislature. (Disclosures for 2015 aren’t due until summer.)

He isn’t wealthy enough to fund his own candidacy the way Scott did in 2010.

Running as an outsider, Scott spent $73 million of his family’s money as part of the 2010 campaign in which he defeated the establishment candidate, then-Attorney General Bill McCollum, in the Republican primary and the Democrat, then-Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, in the November election.

State Sen. Chris Smith, a Broward Democrat, said his party needs to try nominating someone who isn’t from the Tampa Bay area — home to the last four governor candidates, all of whom lost.

Ring’s six years as an early executive with the Yahoo! search engine company shape his vision for Florida, where he’d like to see the kind of environment that allowed Silicon Valley to flourish.

He said focusing on entrepreneurship, universities and research would provide far better jobs and produce a much better economy. It’s easy, he said, to create jobs “by making Florida the call center capital of the world.”

“If you want to compare and contrast Rick Scott and myself, he wants to bring an Amazon.com fulfillment center to Florida. I want to start the next Amazon.com in Florida,” Ring said.

“I have been arguably the most successful state legislator on the Democratic side in the last 10 years,” Ring said. “I’ve done more to create the innovation in economy in this state than anybody, and that certainly includes the governor. My message is one of innovation and inspiration.”

He sponsored legislation this year that would have allowed computer coding to substitute for two foreign language classes in schools. The measure failed, but Ring said it was worth the attempt. “You can agree or disagree. That’s fine. But I created a discussion point that was really debated across party lines. And I brought something positive into an otherwise non-innovate process.”

State Sen. Joe Abruzzo, a Palm Beach County Democrat, said Ring has been “extremely effective” as a Democrat in the Republican Senate. He’s worked closely enough with Republicans that even as a minority party legislator, he was given a committee chairmanship (Governmental Oversight and Accountability) by the majority party.

Abruzzo said it’s too early to handicap the 2018 election. “At the present time we need to focus on the 2016 election cycle. Come Nov. 9th, we start for 2018.”

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-jeremy-ring-governor-20160506-story.html

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