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Patronis interviews regulator hopefuls

Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, in a March 4, 2014, file photo (AP Photo/Phil Sears).
Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, in a March 4, 2014, file photo (AP Photo/Phil Sears). (Associated Press)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Ahead of a Friday deadline for candidates to apply to lead the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis interviewed three candidates -- including state Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, according to Patronis’ office.

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet, which includes Patronis, are expected next week to name a replacement for Drew Breakspear, who announced recently he was stepping down as the state’s top financial regulator.

Breakspear’s announcement came under pressure from Patronis.

As of mid-afternoon Friday, 29 people were listed on the state Cabinet website as having applied for the job.

Meanwhile, Patronis had already interviewed Fant; Scott Jenkins, who has worked as a lobbyist for Wells Fargo and the Florida Bankers Association; and Linda Charity, a former Office of Financial Regulation official who twice served as interim commissioner.

Scott and the Cabinet, which also includes Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, have scheduled a Wednesday conference call to discuss a replacement for Breakspear.

Fant announced this week that he was dropping his campaign to become attorney general and would seek the financial regulator’s job.