Steve Crisafulli on the Right Track for High Office
Around the State
In the last nine months, Steve Crisafulli has moved from a backbencher in the Florida House to incoming speaker and House majority leader with an even higher office beckoning down the road.
Chris Dorworth had been in line to be House speaker in 2014 but, after he lost his seat last year, Republicans had to scramble to find a replacement. Crisafulli emerged quickly to replace Dorworth though there was some talk that Charles McBurney would stand in his way.
Dorworth’s loss can be Crisafulli’s gain, not just in the Florida House but also if the incoming speakers turns his eyes toward an even higher office. Crisafulli works in real estate and agribusiness. He has been active with the Brevard County Farm Bureau for more than 15 years, serving as a director since 1996 and serving two years as president. Agriculture also falls under the State Affairs Committee in the Florida House.
Adam Putnam will face term limits in 2018, two years after Crisafulli’s tenure as House speaker ends. With his background and interests, Crisafulli is a natural fit to run for Florida agriculture commissioner in 2018. It’s hard to imagine a relatively unknown state representative making the leap to statewide office even if he comes from Brevard County, which is the tenth most populated county in Florida.
But Crisafulli has a chance to greatly expand his political profile as House speaker and connect with Republicans across the state. He should find the House speakership will provide an excellent springboard to run for agriculture commissioner. There are perils, too. Mike Haridopolos paid the price for trying to serve as president of the Florida Senate while running for the U.S. Senate, but Crisafulli can wait until his time as House speaker ends before he starts turning toward 2018.
He is only 43 but he is facing an increasingly crowded -- and younger -- bench of ambitious Republicans. While less than a year ago it would have been impossible to imagine, Crisafulli now has the opportunity to lead the Florida House and then run for agriculture commissioner. If he plays his cards right, this former backbencher has the chance to become one of the leading political figures in Florida.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.