On Context Florida, former Tampa Bay Times deputy editor of editorials Martin Dyckman walks readers down a tour of modern Florida history to explain why Governor Rick Scott needs to full the vacant Lieutenant Governor’s position as soon as possible.
Florida has managed without a Lieutenant Governor for fully half a year since Gov. Scott demanded Jennifer Carroll’s resignation. Nobody seems to care, apart from the media and those individuals who, against all reason, covet the job. Others may conclude that the office might as well be abolished.
The law provides that if the Lieutenant Governor’s office is vacant, the Attorney General succeeds a departed governor. The Chief Financial Officer and Agriculture Commissioner complete the line of succession.
The problem with it is that the Cabinet officers are elected separately. There’s no guarantee that they will share the governor’s goals and priorities, or even that they will belong to the same political party. The kind of administration Floridians thought they were electing could be rudely replaced, in an instant, without an intervening election.
The other problem with the current line of succession is the practical element of it. Were something to happen to Gov. Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi would become the new Governor.
Bondi’s handling of the scheduling of an execution of convicted killer Marshall Lee Gore calls into question whether she’s ready for prime time.
Gov. Scott scheduled Gore’s execution for Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
But Bondi had already scheduled a political fundraiser in Tampa for her re-election campaign that night, so she asked Scott to change the date from September 10.
Late Monday, Bondi acknowledged she should not have asked to move the execution date.
“As a prosecutor, there was nothing more important than seeing justice done, especially when it came to the unconscionable act of murder,” said Bondi. “I personally put two people on death row and, as Attorney General, have already participated in eight executions since I took office, a role I take very seriously.”
“The planned execution of Marshall Lee Gore had already been stayed twice by the courts, and we should not have requested that the date of the execution be moved,” said Bondi.
Such a gross lack of judgment on Bondi’s part should serve as an impetus for Gov. Scott to ensure such bad judgment won’t find its way into the governor’s mansion.