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Defensive Scott looking for 'best person' for lieutenant


Published:   |   Updated: July 9, 2013 at 10:35 PM

TALLAHASSEE - A visibly testy Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday defended the pace of his search for a lieutenant governor.

Scott, after a ceremonial bill signing for an unrelated economic-development measure, was asked if he was willing to consider a candidate from outside politics.

"You know, look, the way we're going to go through this is, let's look at the qualifications and let's find the best person," Scott said. "That's what my plan is. We're going to be doing that."

Scott has been questioned previously for taking his time on selecting a replacement for former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

She quit in March after an investigation into an Internet gambling operation resulted in almost 60 arrests. Carroll, who is not accused of wrongdoing, had done public relations work for the company before her election.

Scott doesn't need a lieutenant governor until September 2014, when by law his running mate must be selected for re-election purposes.

The governor had said he would begin the job of appointing Carroll's successor after the legislative session, which ended May 3.

Then he said he would start the process after reviewing all the bills from the session, a task he has now finished, approving 272 and vetoing 11.

Adam Hollingworth, Scott's chief of staff, has since been put in charge of the search and vetting for a new lieutenant governor.

Scott has been asked about a lieutenant governor almost every time he has done "media availabilities" in the past few weeks.

"Look, I came in from outside politics; I'd never run for office before," he said Tuesday. "I think it's good to bring to people in. It's good to have people with different backgrounds."

He turned to ask Rep. Ritch Workman, the Melbourne Republican who sponsored the economic-development bill, if he would agree.

Workman milked the moment for comic effect, playing as if he were Scott's pick.

"Are you announcing it today? Oh my god, I wasn't ready," he beamed, grabbing Scott and pointing out their mutual lack of hair. "What a team! This is going to be great!"

jrosica@tampatrib.com

(850) 765-0807

Twitter: @jlrosicaTBO

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