2018 Cabinet Elections Could Change Florida’s Political Landscape

Your mailbox is overflowing with mailers, your inbox is exploding with exposés, and the political commercials are never-ending. From local commission seats to Florida’s Cabinet, candidates are working overtime to define themselves and their opponents in an effort to win your vote. It’s enough to make you want to hide your head under a pillow until the election is over. Resist the urge! Your vote is crucial, and it will play a pivotal role in the next chapter of Florida’s policy and politics.

We’ve told you about the many constitutional amendments and given you the information you need to cast your vote on those issues. While the amendments are each important, they are certainly not the only items on what’s positioned to be a very long ballot in November. All of the seats in the Florida House and half the seats in our Senate are up for grabs. And, for the first time in a very long time, every single seat on Florida’s Cabinet is open and competitive. It is no exaggeration to say that this election could significantly change the political trajectory of our state.

What is the Cabinet?

Florida’s Cabinet is comprised of the Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Chief Financial Officer.  Together, they make decisions on key issues such as the environment, land use, taxation, investment, and clemency.

Who’s running in these races?

While some of these races have several candidates, we’ve focused on the front-runners. For a complete list of candidates in all elections, check out this search page from the Florida Department of State.


While there are several candidates in the race for Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis (R) and Andrew Gillum (D) are presently leading the pack and running in a very tight race. DeSantis served as a Congressional representative for Florida’s sixth district, and Gillum currently serves as the mayor of Tallahassee.

Attorney General

For the position of Attorney General, Ashley Moody (R) and Shawn Shaw (D) have received their respective parties’ nomination. Moody is a former prosecutor and judge in Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, which is in Hillsborough County. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and Stetson University. Shaw is the former Insurance Consumer Advocate for Florida and represents portions of Hillsborough County as the District 61 Representative in the Florida House.

Commissioner of Agriculture

In the Commissioner of Agriculture race, Matt Caldwell (R) is facing off against Nikki Fried (D). Caldwell and Fried are both life-long Floridians. Caldwell has worked as a real estate appraiser and has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2018, representing the 73rd District from 2010 – 2012 and the 79th District since 2012. Fried is an attorney who served as the head of the Felony Division in the Alachua County Public Defender’s Office. In private practice, she defended homeowners against foreclosure in 2007-2008.

Chief Financial Officer

Florida’s current Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis (R), is running against Jeremy Ring (D). Patronis is a partner in Capt. Anderson’s, an historic seafood restaurant owned and operated by his family, and he served in the Florida House of Representatives until he was appointed CFO following the resignation of Jeff Atwater. Ring is a former tech start-up executive, having opened the first East Coast office of Yahoo! from his New York apartment. He has served in the Florida Senate from 2006 till 2016, first representing District 31 and then District 29.

What does this all mean for me?

It is likely (but certainly not guaranteed) that legislative control will remain in the hands of the Republicans, who have enjoyed control of the Cabinet for quite some time. However, the potential for Democratic presence in or even control of the Cabinet creates the possibility of a changing political landscape. Your vote helps decide Florida’s direction.

If you need to register to vote, look up your polling place, figure out who’s running for what, or track election results, the Florida Division of Elections can help you with that. Visit and take advantage of this one-stop-shop for all the information you need to participate in the democratic process during these mid-term elections.

Get out from under that pillow and vote. You can even vote early! Make sure you get to the very end of that very long ballot and ensure your voice is heard.