Chris King: Florida’s Gubernatorial Election Wildcard

Chris King (left) at a HUD event in Orlando. (Public domain photo by HUD Orlando.)

A newcomer to the arena of politics, Democrat Chris King has joined Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race.

King has no past political experience, but he is a businessman. He currently serves as the president of Elevation Financial Group, a private equity real estate investment company that he founded in 2006 with his brother Michael King.

Currently residing in Winter Park, King is a third-generation Floridian. He spent his undergraduate years at Harvard, before returning to attend law school at the University of Florida.

He is the father of three children and is married to his high school sweetheart, Kristen King.

In addition to running a business, King devotes time to community service. He is involved with Grace Medical Home, a non-profit medical organization that benefits uninsured Floridians, and is on their Board of Directors.

Furthermore, he founded The Elevation Scholars Program, which seeks to help low-income students gain access to college and mentorship opportunities.

While some may view King’s inexperience with politics to be a disadvantage for his campaign, he feels differently.

“There will be those that argue that a lifetime in political office prepares them for this job; I believe that it was traditional political experience that got us into this mess and it will be fresh ideas and new leadership that will get us out of it…” King explained in his campaign kickoff speech earlier this April.

Some of the Orlando businessman’s plans for improving Florida include raising the minimum wage and making both college and housing more affordable.

Additionally, he plans to support small businesses based in Florida through a business jumpstart fund and investment in community initiatives.

King also wants to increase workforce training programs in order to provide workers with the skills they need to get jobs.

The businessman believes in restoring non-violent felons’ voting rights and wants to strengthen ethics laws, specifically through further limitations on public officials becoming lobbyists.

The only other Democratic candidate in the race at the moment is Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, however, it is unlikely that it will stay this way for long.

It is rumored that Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and attorney John Morgan are all considering entering the Democratic primary race.

One of the greatest challenges that King will face in the primary is the fact that he is relatively unknown to most voters. As a first-time candidate, he does not have the same name recognition as others in the race.

He also faces the challenge of funding his campaign. Prospective candidates Levine and Morgan both have ample money to fund their campaigns, while Graham has the experience and a solid network to help fund hers.

King contributed $1 million of his own money to help start his campaign and has successfully raised $500,000 since filing his papers to run in March.

King’s entry into the 2018 gubernatorial race was an unexpected one, but the thirty-eight-year-old Florida native has made it clear that he means business.

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