Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rick Scott’s Best Picks for Lieutenant Governor

In my last column, I wrote about the national importance of keeping the Florida governorship in Republican hands during this redistricting term. The makeup of three or four US House seats are possibly at stake, which may at one point be enough to swing control of the chamber.

Democrat Alex Sink made the best choice for her side by picking Rod Smith. Sen. Smith is the type of candidate who can gain swingvoters. Sink will have problems, having served as President of Florida Operations of Bank of America and due to the fact that this is a Republican leaning year. She’s also become the ultimate insider. But Scott still needs to make sure that his pick is refreshing and dynamic.

Here are some choices that can help Scott significantly:

Commander Tom Garcia. – This relatively unknown, yet superbly impressive, American hero was a political unknown who still faired respectably in a crowded field, which included two sitting politicians and the former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Garcia is an Annapolis graduate and the recipient of a presidential medal for saving lives and millions of dollars in costs to the US Navy, streamlining high-risk training techniques. Most recently, Garcia flew to Haiti hours after the Jan. earthquake to assist in humanitarian relief. He has recently been featured in the Washington Times and by NumbersUSA as a national voice against illegal immigration.

Majority Leader Adam Hasner – Hasner would serve well in uniting McCollum supporters behind Rick Scott. He has experience, knowledge (he’s widely regarded was one of the most brilliant minds in the Florida House), and has remained outside of the upper echelons of power in Tallahassee. He’s an outsider who insiders have come to respect. Moreover, he combines brilliance with a pleasant demeanor, making him a superb campaigner.

Rep. Anitere Flores – Representative Flores falls in the same category, an outsider with influence in circles that matter. Being a female pick will help somewhat, although gender will not likely be an issue in this race - not with Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and others being the talk of presidential runs. There’s simply no longer anything special enough about being a female governor (or lieutenant) to sway significant chunks of votes. That said, Flores is qualified and dynamic in her own right.

Marion Thorpe
, former Chief Medical Officer of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration – Medical development is key to growing Florida’s economy and Thorpe’s answers are bold. He’s an extremely likeable man and a natural campaigner. And while the GOP has women, it does not have very many African-Americans among its ranks, making such a pick refreshing and momentous. His selection would also serve to further boost Allen West in the latter’s congressional run.

The stakes are high and the results may well be of national significance. Whoever he picks, let’s wish Rick Scott well.

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