Adam Hattersley knows Chief Finance Officer Jimmy Patronis is popular in North Florida.
Nonetheless, Patronis’ Democratic challenger is campaigning in the heart of the Panhandle and earlier this month he became the first statewide candidate to pay a visit to Franklin County this election season.
The 44-year-old former state representative stopped by Apalachicola, walking throughout the commercial district to make his pitch that voters need to put partisan politics aside and vote with their pocketbooks.
“It’s time to take politics out of your money,” he said, during a walk-though along Water Street. “I don’t want people to vote with their hearts, I don’t want people to vote with their parties. It’s time to vote with your wallets.”
Hattersley said he believes Patronis’ inaction has contributed to a crisis in the insurance market.
“We’re the least affordable state in the country, and the property insurance market is in free fall,” he said. “Our rates on average have doubled in the last three years and they’re triple the national rate. That can be directly attributed to Jimmy’s inaction when it comes to this property insurance crisis.
“Florida has only 9 percent of property insurance claims in the United State but over 76 percent of the property insurance-related lawsuits,” Hattersley said. “There are giant loopholes that you can drive a truck through and Jimmy has done nothing to protect consumers in the last five years. He has had so many opportunities to work with the legislature, to work with the industry to fix these problems and he’s failed at every point.”
Hattersley served one term in the legislature from eastern Hillsborough, after being elected in a Trump county. He said prior to that he had been without party affiliation all of his adult life, which was marked by service with the Navy as a nuclear submarine officer. During that time he volunteered for a combat tour as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which he received a Bronze Star.
“We’re all Americans, we’re all Floridians,” he said. “You don’t only represent the people in your party.”
He said Patronis’ tweeting a “donkey pox” meme was an example of hyper-partisanship. “He made fun of nearly half the voters in the entire state of Florida,” Hattersley said. “That’s not something you want from your elected official.”