James “Jimmy” Lodato announced Friday he has become a member of the Democratic Party.
Lodato, who ran as a Republican for county commissioner in the previous election primary for District 5 and lost to Republican Jim Adkins.
He later switched to a no-party affiliation “to figure out which way I would go in the next election.”
He plans to run in the 2014 election but has not decided what office he will seek.
“The GOP has never really been behind me,” Lodato said.
Lodato, 71, said he also supports the Democratic Party and believes it is better open to ideas.
“Jimmy Lodato is a retired successful entrepreneur and businessman who will bring his experience and marketing expertise to the Democratic Party,” Terry Ogden, media chairman for the Hernando County Democratic Executive Committee, said in a prepared statement.
“He is a visionary who has knowledge and experience in governmental affairs,” Ogden said. “We look forward to a great future together as we promote and expand the Democratic Party in Hernando County.”
Lodato has been vocal during several of the county commission meetings, speaking about many of the agenda items.
“We’re excited and really enthusiastic about what he can bring to the party,” said Mark Johnson, president of the Hernando County Democratic Club.
Lodato has touted his experience in economic development and has cited his role in creating jobs back in the 1970s-80s when he helped revitalize the island of Tierra Verde in Pinellas County, a luxury waterfront community where he and his wife lived.
Lodato says his forte is in business.