'Radical Centrist' Philip Levine Mulls Run For Governor As An Independent

May 19, 2017

He's not running for governor yet - at least not officially - but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is sure sounding like one. He spoke Friday afternoon at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club, where he called himself a "radical centrist."

Levine acknowledges he'd have a tough time in Florida's closed primaries, which usually favor candidates who lean further to the left or right. The multimillionaire Miami Beach businessman says he might just run as an Independent.

"If you can't do it in the Democratic Party, then you better figure out another way," he said. "And as an entrepreneur who doesn't think conventionally, I'll figure out another way if I decide to run."

Levine says he likes a lot of Republican ideas. But no governor has ever been elected in Florida with no party affiliation. In the meantime, Levine says he plans to travel all across Florida, listening to the people.

"This is not a sprint. This is a marathon," he said. "I want to listen to the people of Florida, I'm going to go around, I want them to meet me, I want to meet them. I want to talk to the customers."

Levine has invested $2 million of his own money into a political committee exploring a run for governor. He would face opposition from Democrats, including former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee,  Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park businessman Chris King. And trial attorney John Morgan is also exploring a run.

On the Republican side, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has announced his candidacy. Possible opponents could include House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O'Lakes and State Sen. Jack Latvala of Pinellas County.