Carroll's successor likely to come from state Legislature

Published On: Mar 14 2013 04:18:05 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 14 2013 05:10:00 PM EDT

Jennifer Carroll (left) with Gov. Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Gov. Rick Scott has said he will wait until after the legislative session to choose a lieutenant governor to replace Jennifer Carroll, who abruptly resigned Monday night.

Dozens of names are surfacing as a replacement, and if history is a guide, the new second-in-command in Florida will come from the state Legislature.

Carroll's resignation was terse -- two sentences. Following news that she and Scott seldom talked, those who served as second fiddle to other governors say the job can be filled with land mines.

"The chief of staff will always feel that it is their first job to drive a wedge between the governor and lieutenant governor so they are the person perceived to be the closest," said Bobby Brantley, the state's lieutenant governor from 1987 to 1991.

So Brantley wasn't surprised that the first official statement came from the chief of staff.

Florida didn't have a lieutenant governor for 80 years before 1969. There have been only 10 since the job was reinstated. Four of them who spoke Thursday say being second takes discipline.

"Part of your job is to stay in the background," said Jeff Kottkamp, who served in the role from 2007 to 2011. "Part of the job is not be the top name on the marquee, but to help the governor."

Wayne Mixson is one of only two lieutenant governors who served two full terms. He made headlines while then-Gov. Bob Graham was out of the country, calling for the repeal of a tax that Graham supported. He still managed to keep the job.

"Well, it had to be done at some point. It worked out, of course," said Mixson, who served from 1979 to 1987.

Plenty of people are being mentioned as a successor to Carroll. And if history is any guide, that person will likely come from the state Legislature.

Frank Brogan, lieutenant governor from 1999 to 2003, was the elected education commissioner when he was tapped by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. He has this advice for Scott:

"Pick somebody you know, like and trust," Brogan said.

Scott said Wednesday he would wait until May to name a successor.

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