Political Dominos Could Fall if FSU Selects John Thrasher

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: June 9, 2014 3:55 AM
John Thrasher

John Thrasher

The clock is ticking for First Coast politicians as John Thrasher continues his efforts to become the next president of Florida State University.

While FSU has opened the search to other candidates, Thrasher remains a top contender for the position. But Thrasher can be excused if he keeps an eye on the calendar. The last day to qualify for state office is June 20. With Thrasher running for re-election this year, it would make things a lot easier if FSU makes its decision before then.

Regardless, even if FSU doesn’t make its decision by June 20, Thrasher should be in fine shape. Thrasher represents a very Republican district and his only opponent so far is Greg Feldman, a former police officer and DCF executive, who is running with no party affiliation. Thrasher held off two impressive Democratic candidates in 2010 and 2012 and it’s hard to imagine a last-minute candidate from that party doing much better this time out.

But if Thrasher is in good shape, even if FSU makes its decision, some other First Coast Republicans should have concerns. Names are already being floated as Thrasher’s replacement in the Senate, including Doc Renuart and Travis Hutson who both represent parts of the district in the Florida House.

If Thrasher gets the appointment before qualifying closes, Renuart, Hutson and other candidates would have to duke it out in the primary. But even if Thrasher gets the appointment later in the summer, Republican leaders from the four counties in the district -- St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and Volusia -- would meet and find a candidate under an obscure state law. The last time it was used was back in 2010. Jennifer Carroll, who was running for a fourth term in the House, was named as Rick Scott’s running mate after the qualifying period ended. Republicans from Clay and Duval counties met and named Daniel Davis to replace her.

This could put Renuart at a distinct disadvantage. He was shoved south after redistricting in 2012, losing the Southside of Jacksonville and other parts of Duval County. While Renuart has a foothold in the posh beach suburbs going down A1A, such as his home base of Ponte Vedra, he is not well-known in other parts of St. Johns County. That was evident in 2012 when he faced two Republican primary challengers -- though, to his credit, he kept his seat. Renuart has had two years to raise his profile, work his district and build ties to leading Republicans.

Hutson represents all of Flagler County and parts of St. Johns and Volusia counties. He certainly has more ties to the southern part of the district than Renuart and should get a boost from Republican leaders in Flagler and Volusia counties. But St. Johns is twice the size of Flagler County and Renuart should be able to compete with Hutson there.

So Renuart’s and Hutson’s House seats could also be impacted by FSU’s decision, as well as Thrasher’s Senate. The First Coast might root more for the Gators than the Seminoles but FSU is well-positioned to set a few political dominos in motion there.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (6)

sandy oestreich
9:47AM JUN 10TH 2014
FSU panel: Get Over Thrasher. Remember, he is one of the evilest of the evil, ALEC, the American (?) Legislative Exchange Council which buys legislators in Florida and all over this country in exchange for their filing and passing bills evil to the rest of hardworking Floridians.
Otherwise, his character is questionable.

Why would FSU seek to engage such a sleaze to pervert innocent minds?

PARENTS of college age children: If FSU is in bed with an ALEC Leader, Find Another college.
why not
4:35PM JUN 9TH 2014
I think Jim Jett the former Clerk of the Courts in Clay county would be an excellent candidate.

He got Bush whacked when he run against Cliff Strearns in 2012.

Jeb sent his boys Jim Horne and Sapp out to buy him out of the race and Horne was supposed to be his campaign treasurer.

Jett called the FBI and they had the proof, but then they lost it. Now Jett has had to sue them to see if they can find the proof again.

Politics as usual in Florida, if they can't buy them off they just bump them off!
1:47PM JUN 9TH 2014
Thrasher now has Republican opposition. He will have to withdraw before the close of qualifying or all those other mentioned candidates will be shut out of running for his seat. He would also have to stay in the election cycle through or just concede the race to his Republican opponent Derek Hankerson of St. Augustine. If he has to stay in thourgh November, that would probably kill his chances to be the President of FSU.
9:17AM JUN 9TH 2014
dominoes, not dominos.
John C. Browning
8:33AM JUN 9TH 2014
Renuart is one of the least effective member of the legislature who has no backbone and will get little or no support in Putnam, Flagler or Volusia. Hutson is a brash, immature freshman House member who can be bank-rolled by his wealthy Farther, Developer D.W. Hutson, but he is in no way ready to be a state senator. He is very disliked in Flagler County due to the way he handled a controversial bill this past session and has little support in the Ag areas of his district. Look for a local government or school board member from St. Johns or even one of the retiring officers of the Florida Army National Guard to run and win!!
sandy oestreich
9:49AM JUN 10TH 2014
FSU: A B T, anybody BUT Thrasher

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