Orlando Democrat Chris King filed papers Thursday with the Florida Secretary of State to run for Governor in 2018. King announced plans to launch his campaign with a speech in April when he said he will "lay out a fresh vision for what our state can and should be."
“I believe Florida can do so many things better if we have the courage to do things differently,” King said in a prepared statement late Thursday. "We’re going to run a campaign driven by a spirit of innovation and can-do optimism. We’re going to give voice to millions of Floridians who are struggling to make it and haven’t given up the hope that we can do better. We are going to answer the call of every Floridian who wants a governor with the strength, vision and integrity to tackle important problems and provide innovative solutions. And we are going to invite every Floridian who wants to rise up and be part of something big, bold, and better, to join this campaign."
King, who has never run for office, joins Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in a Democratic field that is expected to get crowded. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Orlando attorney John Morgan and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham are all said to be considering entering the governor's race. Gov. Rick Scott is prohibited by law from seeking a third term in 2018.
A third generation Central Floridian, King graduated from Harvard University and earned his law degree from the University of Florida. He is the founder and CEO of Elevation Financial Group, which creates quality, affordable housing for seniors and families in Florida and across the Southeast. He also leads a non-profit that offers mentorship to low-income Florida students to pursue their college dreams.
King and his wife, Kristen, live in the Orlando area with their three young children.
In a prepared statement, Gillum welcomed King to the race.
"Floridians in every corner of our state deserve a contest of ideas, and I’m looking forward to Chris adding his thoughts," he said. "Floridians deserve to hear how each candidate plans to create jobs at every level of the income ladder, ensure Florida’s children have both quality health care and a quality public education, and how we protect Florida as a welcoming place for immigrants, same-sex couples, and people of every faith and background."