John Thrasher Makes More Sense Now for Scott's LG
Around the State
As Rick Scott’s search for a lieutenant governor extends through summer and now into September, John Thrasher’s name has once again resurfaced as one of the leading candidates for the post.
Thrasher’s name first surfaced in April and it didn’t make much sense at the time. He represents an area Scott should have in the bag. As an older white male, Thrasher doesn’t help Scott win Hispanic voters from the Democrats. Thrasher is generally seen as one of the leading conservatives in the Senate and, as a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), he probably won’t help Scott win independents. While few voters cast their ballots based on running mates, Thrasher didn’t seem to help boost Scott’s re-election chances in 2014.
Scott’s numbers might be better but he can’t afford an unproductive legislative session next year. Thrasher could help there to some extent. As a former speaker and as a conservative, he should help with the House and he is close to Senate President Don Gaetz. Scott could do much worse than having Thrasher as his point man on legislative affairs.
Naming Thrasher would be a sign of confidence for Scott. The governor’s enemies couldn't argue he is a political choice as they would if Scott named a woman or a minority as lieutenant governor, especially after the lengthy vacancy. The chattering class in Tallahassee assumed Anitere Flores would be Scott’s choice after Jennifer Carroll walked the plank. If Scott named Flores to the post after half a year, more than a few eyebrows would be raised and questions would be asked why it took so long.
While he’s had his missteps -- trying to knife Andy Gardiner’s Senate presidency ambitions comes to mind -- Thrasher has one of the sharpest political minds in Tallahassee. He can help Scott out in terms of political strategy and making sure the governor and the Legislature are on the same page.
Thrasher is starting to make more sense as Scott’s choice. If Scott picks him, it means the governor’s team thinks their boss has a real shot in 2014 and doesn’t need to throw a Hail Mary to beat Charlie Crist next year.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.