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Ausley Considering Bid for State Chief Financial Officer

The new year may bring a new candidate for the Chief Financial Officer’s race – with former Democratic state Rep. Loranne Ausley saying she will spend the holidays weighing a run.

Ausley, who has been in the race to succeed term-limited Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, next year, acknowledged that a switch was possible. Democrats have yet to field a candidate for the race to succeed CFO Alex Sink, a candidate for governor.

Ausley said she’s been courted by friends and party leaders to enter the race.

“While these calls are flattering, the bottom line to me is making sure I can serve in a meaningful way – and have the greatest impact,” Ausley told the News Service of Florida.

“We need leaders who make decisions based on what can make our state stronger for the next generation,” she added. “Clearly, CFO is an important office and one that can have a huge impact on the daily lives of Floridians, especially in these very tough times.”

Republican Senate President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach is considered frontrunner in the race – mostly on the strength of having raised $1 million through Sept. 30, the most recent fund-raising quarter. Republican Rep. Pat Patterson of Deland is challenging Atwater for the GOP nomination.

Democrats, though, have struggled to find a contender. Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Bud Chiles, son of the late governor, and Palm Beach County Sens. Ted Deutch and Jeremy Ring are among those who have either been courted or took a look at the race and declined.

Lawson, himself a candidate for Congress, last week said he was looking at running for CFO – but the glance lasted less than 24 hours before he recommitted to challenging fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd.

“All of this is to say that I am considering entering the race, but I won’t make any final or official decision until after the first of the year,” Ausley said.

The Florida Democratic Party sounded ready to embrace the former four-term House member – if she runs.

“She has a great record as a children’s advocate, has led efforts to create jobs and also to hold Tallahassee accountable,” Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said. “We would be very excited about her entering the race.”

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