TALLAHASSEE -- Central Florida Urban League President Allie Braswell Jr. announced Thursday he is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a Republican.
He is the first well-known Democrat to announce plans for any of the three Cabinet positions. Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant praised his decision to enter the race.
"I am thrilled that Allie Braswell is running for Florida's CFO, because he's exactly the kind of leader we need in Tallahassee. We need a leader who will fight the politicians who are giving taxpayer money to their donors and friends," Tant said in a prepared statement.
Braswell has never run for political office. He held management positions with Walt Disney World for seven years before being named to lead the Central Florida Urban League in 2010. He also served 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and is the author of the online book "Rekindling The Passion," as well as an inspirational speaker.
Braswell said the Republican leadership in Tallahassee is not doing enough to help improve the lives of the poor and middle class.
"I'm looking forward to an opportunity to serve Florida as I've served our country and to continue to help Floridians that are facing struggles and challenges," he said. "I kind of know where they come from because I'm right there with them. I'm not a banker, I'm not a politician. I'm a guy out here trying to make it happen for families who are struggling to make ends meet.
An Atwater political spokesman said little about Braswell's candidacy.
"Mr. Braswell and Democrats want to focus on politics well over a year before Election Day," said Brian Hughes. "Jeff Atwater is focused on serving Floridians by working to bring relief to insurance ratepayers and fighting the consumer fraud that steals from seniors and families."