More from Deerfield CFO hopeful

Sun Sentinel

There’s more about William Rankin below, but here’s some of what we talked about during a phone interview.

He’s a relative newcomer to the Democratic Party, changing his registration, he said, in 2012. He’d been no party affiliation since 2004, and registered as a Republican when he moved to Florida in 2000.

“To me, the Republican Party just left me. I was a moderate republican, and the party, especially in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, they just started to move to the right, and too [far] right to me,” he said.

In late 2001, he started doing lots of business in overseas, including time in South Africa and London. He said that explains why he missed so many elections.

“I think I think my voting record prior to coming to Florida in 2000 was more robust. But after 2000 … I was spending the majority of the time overseas pursuing business. I wasn’t really following politics at the time. Presidential elections were important to me, and I participated in that,” he said.

He filed paperwork indicating he’d run for the Florida Senate in 2012, until redistricting did away with the west Broward seat held at the time by term-limited state Sen. Nan Rich of Weston. He’s never run for anything else, he said.

Then he settled on running for chief financial officer in 2014.

“I was getting more and more involved in the Democratic Party,” he said, becoming a Democratic committeeman. “I just started inquiring about what was out there. What the party wanted to accomplish. I looked at various races to become a candidate for…

“I asked around and there wasn’t anyone apparent who was going to do it, so I just started gearing my life toward doing it.

He filed paperwork with the state Division of Elections on Oct. 9 indicating he intended to run, and sent out a formal announcement late Tuesday night. He’s taken some knocks in the blogosphere for the unorthodox timing of his announcement release, but explained the timing was designed so reporters would have it first thing in the morning.

His press release doesn’t give details about his business ventures. He said explaining them could require an “hour on the phone talking about it all. I’ve just been involved in a variety of different businesses, consulting businesses.”

Highlights: promoting business between South Africa and the U.S., particularly Florida, he said. And he registered a new Florida company in April to pursue federal government security contracts.

He said he’d need to raise “a lot” of money for the campaign, and said the $1.7 million raised by the 2010 Democratic CFO candidate seemed like a plausible target.

“I do not believe in political doublespeak and I believe that my opponent is very good at that. And I believe that people want answers. People want to know what’s going on in their government. They want to know why decisions are being made,” he said.

Rankin was especially critical of Florida’s decision not to participate in the expansion of the Medicaid health program for the poor, which would have been paid for in its initial years by federal taxes. By declining to participate, he said it hurts the health of poor Floridians and it means Florida residents will pay taxes to expand Medicaid elsewhere, but not at home.

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