Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine Enters 2018 Florida Governor's Race

Democratic Miami Beach Mayor and multi-millionaire businessman Philip Levine is the latest name to enter Florida's governor's race.

Levine has spent months building up to Wednesday's announcement, putting more than $2.6 million of his own money into a political committee and touring the state talking to Democrats and other groups.

In a statement released just before noon, Levine spoke of his experience in leading the city of Miami Beach - both as a private citizen and during his two terms as mayor.

"We live in a state where people come every day to enjoy nature’s best, where families live every day expecting a shot at the American dream, not a threat to their health care. A state where Floridians show up every day believing hard work will be rewarded not discouraged," Levine wrote. "This is the Florida I’m fighting for. And this is the Florida I am ready to lead.”

Levine built his fortune off a marketing company that began with $500 in capital and expanded to provide in-cabin magazines and television content for cruise lines. It had $400 million in annual revenue when he sold it in 2000. He is now CEO of a similar company that provides media for Royal Caribbean International.

Levine, 55, was elected Miami Beach mayor in 2013 after spending $2 million of his own money on the race. He becomes the fourth person to announce their candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

"After 20 years of Republican control that has left too many Floridians behind, Democrats must continue our contest of ideas to move us forward," said one of Levine's opponents, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. "We’re looking forward to hearing from Mayor Levine during this Democratic primary, and certainly hopes he accepts our proposal to have at least 6 Democratic debates with cross-talk and rebuttals."

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leaving office due to term limits.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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