With less than four months remaining until the primary contest to choose the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor, time is quickly running out for anyone still interested in the position–including House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
Corcoran, who was widely expected to enter the contest after the regular session ended in March, last week suggested a big announcement was coming this week.
Corcoran sent out an email to supporters Monday morning, but there was no big announcement. As a matter of fact, there was nothing to suggest anything about his political plans. It was just another weekly email touting his selection as the 2018 School Choice Policy Maker of the Year Award, the low national unemployment rate, his participation in law enforcement memorial in Pasco County and the swearing-in of former state Rep. Carlos Trujillo U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States.
There was no mention about the governor’s race, or any other race.
The political door is steadily closing on Corcoran–whether it be for governor or attorney general, as has been suggested. Corcoran has seen both his fund-raising efforts and his poll numbers fade over the recent weeks and months.
The Capitolist’s HorseRace Index, which averages the polls taken to date using a weighted formula, shows Corcoran trailing both Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis by 25 percentage points. Putnam leads with 20.4 percent, followed by DeSantis with 19.9 percent and Corcoran holding onto a 4.3 percent third place.
Corcoran’s political committee, Watchdog PAC, has spent about $5 million of the $7 million it has raised. A big chunk of that went to pay for a controversial television sport that promoted one of his priorities during this year’s legislative session–a ban on sanctuary cities. The spot featured a bearded man in a hoodie pointing a gun at a young woman. Critics accused the ad of race-baiting. The ban passed the House, but went nowhere in the Senate.
While campaign finance reports aren’t due until later this week, a News Service of Florida review of Watchdog PAC’s contributions for most of April shows the committee raised just over $50,000 raised. That’s a far-cry from the nearly $7 million raised by the committee in a 10-month period.
Corcoran said earlier this year that if he would stay in politics this year, it would be to run only as a candidate for governor.
“I’d either run for governor or go home,” he told the Times/Herald back in January.
Republican strategist Mac Stipanovich told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday that it was time for Corcoran to decide his political future.
“He needs to stop this Hamlet business and make a decision,” said long-time Republican strategist Mac Stipanovich. “Richard has a steeper hill to climb and the sooner he begins to climb it, the better.”