Does Anyone Actually Want to Be Rick Scott's Lt. Governor?
It seems almost too obvious to state that a key requirement of being lieutenant governor is actually wanting to be lieutenant governor, but that's apparently something Gov. Rick Scott didn't take into account during his long, dragged-out search to replaced disgraced ex-Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
In the week since his shortlist to fill the job was leaked to the media, two candidates have publicly indicated they don't want the job. The latest announcement came yesterday when Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger sent out an email announcing he had no interest in the job.
I spoke with Governor Rick Scott this morning and expressed how flattered and honored I was to be considered for the office of Lieutenant Governor. I did, however, respectfully decline to be further considered for this position. It is my intention to continue serving the people of Seminole County as their Sheriff.
St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Joseph Joyner publicly took his name out of consideration last Friday.
That leaves just two names on the list: Tom Lee, a former state senate president who's generally considered a moderate, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, who was elected to the state house in the '90s as a Democrat but switched parties during her first term.
It's not exactly good news when the two lowest-profile candidates on the list announce they have no interest in the job, and it suggests that Scott and his team hadn't actually bothered to reach out to any of the candidates to gauge their interest. Of course, there's no telling if Scott had been considering any candidates who had previously privately declined interest. Where are the higher-profile names, like Sen. Anitere Flores and John Thrasher, anyway?
Which leads us to another question: Does anyone actually want to be Rick Scott's lieutenant governor?
It's a bit of a thankless job at this point. The lieutenant governor position has been vacant since March. So anyone who does take the gig would already have missed out on at least eight months on the job and in the public spotlight that might've been a nice perk. Plus, Scott's re-election bid isn't exactly looking peachy. His approval ratings still remain low, and most polls shows him losing to Charlie Crist by seven to ten points. The lieutenant governor job has no actually state constitutional powers, and it's likely his eventual pick would spend most of his or her time before the election out on the campaign trail. It's also likely not a coincidence that many of the names Scott has considered are generally thought of as more moderate, since his strong Tea Party policies haven't translated to popularity.
Neither Murman nor Lee has publicly commented on their inclusion in the list, so we assume they're still interested, but it's certainly telling that Scott's list has already thinned itself out by 50 percent.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder.