Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pat Neal Won't Seek CFO Post

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pat Neal Won't Seek CFO Post

Article excerpt

POLITICS

Lakewood Ranch-based developer Pat Neal said Wednesday he no longer is contemplating a run for the state's chief financial officer post in 2018, citing a demanding business schedule, potential conflicts between his real estate interests and public service and concerns about the current state of the Republican Party.

Neal had been quiet about his CFO plans, but the Herald-Tribune reported in April that he contributed large sums to a political action committee that was cutting checks to Meredith O'Rourke, a top GOP fundraiser. Sources said then that the prominent Republican businessman and former state senator was positioning himself for the 2018 election.

Neal acknowledged Wednesday that he had been traveling the state to meet with influential Republicans and gauge support for a CFO run. Nearly everyone he spoke with encouraged his candidacy, Neal said, but he decided his frequent appearances before government agencies over land use issues -- which often are controversial -- would present too great of a conflict with his duties as CFO. Donald Trump also was a factor in his decision.

"The primary reason is that my career is incompatible with the idea of this public office and the personal/emotional reason is I've been dispirited with what I see every morning having to do with the Trump campaign" for president, Neal told the Herald-Tribune. …

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