In the wake of Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry’s abrupt resignation earlier this week, a handful of prominent Republicans are pushing House Speaker Will Weatherford to run for the post.
“I’ve known Will Weatherford since he was a junior at Jacksonville University, he would be a great choice,” said Mike Hightower, a lobbyist for Florida Blue, one of the state’s largest political donors.
Weatherford’s office could not be reached for comment.
Rumor began to swirl around the Wesley Chapel Republican quickly after Curry’s May 31 resignation.
“No one in the state could do a better job than Will Weatherford,” said Bill Bunting, former chairman of the Pasco County Republican Executive committee. “He can fundraise, he is well respected and well connected.”
Curry’s resignation caught many in the party off guard, which is not a good place to be headed into a heated gubernatorial race.
“Will has been an extraordinary speaker, an extraordinary spokesman for the party, an extraordinary fundraiser,” Hightower said. “Having someone of that stature would be outstanding.”
The vote will take place at the state GOP’s quarterly meeting at the end of May. The voting body is the party’s State Executive Committee, which is comprised of more than 200 members, including Bunting and Hightower.
Another person in the running is Leslie Dougher, head of the Clay County GOP.
“Leslie is a real nice lady, and she works hard for the party, but if 20 other people run, I don’t think there could be a better candidate than Will Weatherford,” Bunting said.