TAMPA ญญ— Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman has confirmed she’s being vetted as a possible appointee to become Gov. Rick Scott’s lieutenant governor but stopped short of saying she would accept the job if it’s offered.
“I’d love the opportunity ... I’d give it very serious consideration,” Murman said, said she wanted to give her final answer first to Scott himself if the position is offered.
“When the governor calls and asks, that’s when I’ll give my direct answer,” she said.
It’s been widely reported, though not confirmed by the governor’s office, that Scott was considering four people for the position, including Murman and state Sen. Tom Lee. Like Murman, Lee has not said for certain that he would accept the job if offered.
But two of the people on the short list, St. Johns County school superintendent Joseph Joyner and Seminole County sheriff Don Eslinger, have since asked to be taken out of consideration, leaving only Murman and Lee.
Lee told the Tribune last week that it’s an honor to be considered but that he’s undecided on whether to accept the job if it’s offered because of potential professional and career problems his move from Brandon to Tallahassee could cause him and his wife, Laurel, who recently was appointed by Scott as a Hillsborough County circuit judge.
The situation raises the question of whether Scott might consider other candidates, but the governor’s office had no substantive comment on that question.
“We’ll take the right time to find the right person,” said Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz.
An Indiana native, Murman was elected a Hillsborough county commissioner in 2010. She served in the state House from 1996-2004 and was the first female speaker pro tem.
During her House tenure, according to her bio on the county web site, Murman worked in the House on issues such as nursing shortages, long term care reform for elderly, nursing home litigation reform and reform of child protective services and foster care.
Either Lee or Murman could provide an electoral advantage to Scott in his 2014 re-election campaign by providing a foothold in an important swing county that’s part of the home turf of Scott’s likely Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Murman also might be able to help overcome the disadvantage Republicans often face among women voters.
In an interview, Murman said she believes her experience on health care and children’s issues would “complement the governor’s agenda,” but that she has spent most of her time as a commissioner working on economic development issues.