The doldrums of summer create such a vacuum of hard news that the political class really has little better to do than speculate about the next big thing? Or, as the case may be, when the next big thing will occur?
On some people’s minds is when exactly Rick Scott will select a new Lieutenant Governor. Another topic fervently discussed on blogs and Twitter is when former Governor Charlie Crist will (the if seems a foregone conclusion) announce that he will challenge Scott in 2014.
The answer to these two questions is, simply: Soon and later.
I heard from a reliable source that Scott had intended to roll out his new LG as early as today. But after I tweeted this information, my source circled back and said that my tweet spooked the Gov.’s office because they thought a name was about to be leaked. So now who knows?
(For some insight into Scott’s thinking, be sure to read Bill Cotterell’s analysis here.)
I genuinely believe if Scott had his druthers he would name John Thrasher as his LG.
“Thrasher would be great,” Brian Ballard is quoted as saying. “But it wouldn’t be advisable to take a significant player out of the Legislature, because he’d lose an important advocate in the Senate.”
Short of someone of Thrasher’s stature, Scott’s choices range from the outrageous (Sandy Adams or Allen West) to the practical (Anitere Flores) to the interesting (Doug Holder or Dana Young). I’m still pimping Young as Scott’s best choice for LG because a) she could step in as governor is something were to happen to Scott, b) she is incredibly smart, c) she is telegenic and would make an ideal running mate in 2014, and d) most important, Young would be the most tenacious campaigner for Scott’s re-election of any of the possible candidates. Ask any legislator who had a tough race in 2012 which member did the most for their campaign and invariably Young’s name is mentioned first.
Young will certainly have her work cut out for her in 2014 if she’s the hatchet-woman for the Republican ticket and Crist indeed runs.
Just don’t look for Crist to announce anytime soon. Certainly not at the Florida Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson gala at June 15, as some have speculated.
No way is Crist going to announce two weeks before a fundraising deadline, so that he can post a bagel versus Scott’s committee’s millions. Nor would Charlie likely announce in the middle of summer when the non-political world is on vacation and basically doing whatever it can to avoid the heat.
Crist is just now finding again his campaign sea-legs. He’s just now finding his rhythm. He’s still working out the kinks from his time away. He also actually realizes that he needs to learn more about Florida Democrats before he’s ready to be their standard-bearer.
Crist is also acutely aware that he needs to give Alex Sink room to maneuver as she figures out what she wants to do in 2014. Nothing would be worse for Crist than if he appeared to be muscling Sink out of the race, especially after failing to muscle Rubio out of the GOP primary for the US Senate in 2012.
All of the talk about Crist interviewing consultants and interviewing staff, as Alexander Burns of POLITICO reported last week, is from consultants and staff eager to lap up some of the gravy from Crist’s gubernatorial train. Little do they know how cheap, err, frugal Crist is when it comes to paying his advisers.
I previously speculated that Crist had the opportunity to communicate his intentions in May at the Hillsborough-Pinellas Democrats’ Kennedy-King Dinner, but he zipped right past that. Now, I am leaning to a post-Labor Day announcement, after the RPOF has punched itself out with its already-lame “This Day in Crist-ory” series and after Sink has announced her plans.
By the way, if you needed any further proof that Crist intends to run, consider this: Greg Truax, the former Republican State Committeeman from Hillsborough County currently acting as Crist’s “body man” as Charlie embarks on his tour of all events Democratic, recently switched parties.
Better for him to be able to vote for the boss in a primary, right?