TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Only one Republican has thrown their hat in the ring in the race for Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race so far, but the field of candidates continues to grow on the Democratic side.
Chris King is a name you may not have heard of. He’s an Orlando area businessman who by all accounts, at least right now, has a slim chance of winning his party’s nomination.
King finds himself up against two formidable candidates. First, there’s Gwen Graham, former Congresswoman and daughter of Governor Bob Graham.
Next, there’s Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who is seen by some political analysts as a rising star in the Democratic Party.
King admits he has his work cut out for him but says Floridians need a change in leadership and he can be the one to give it to them.
“I’m focused most on getting our message out,” King said. “A message on building an economy that works for all families, of making housing more affordable across the state and healthcare.”
King, a political newcomer, is focused on what he calls economic stagnation as the largest challenge facing our state.
“The major issue of our campaign is the economy,” King told News Channel 8. “It’s an economy that’s not working for so many Floridians. Under 15 years under Republican rule in Tallahassee, Florida is now a back of the pack state and we’ll do something about that.”
King’s economic plan, Homegrown Florida, is focused on growing the economy from within the state, but we wanted to know how his plan would affect working class families and small businesses.
“Absolutely. So it’s about increasing wages, incomes, productivity across the state,” King said.
Political analysts say King faces a major uphill battle.
“He’s definitely trying to get his name out there and he’s starting from behind in that position and I’ve spoken to him about that and he realizes he’s got a heavy lift to do,” said political analyst Susan McGrath.
King must now do his best in getting to know the more than 4 million Democrats across the state who have never heard of him.
Interestingly, there’s a commonality with Governor Rick Scott, who essentially came out of nowhere to run for governor in 2010.
“In March of the year Governor Scott was elected, he had 3 percent name identification with the Republican Party,” said political analyst Barry Edwards. “Bill McCollum had 85% name identification. Scott put together a formidable team and won. King’s team is not as formidable as Scott’s nor does he seem to have that much money.”
Chris King said the Democrats need fresh blood, like him.
“I feel in my bones that this party is looking for fresh leaders with new ideas to take on our big challenges so we think my resume and our achievements out of the Central Florida area will get people excited,” King told News Channel 8.
THE OTHER GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES: