Bush in no hurry to name a new No. 2


Published: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 11:17 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE - With straight man and confidante Frank Brogan considered the frontrunner to be named president of Florida Atlantic University on Friday, Gov. Jeb Bush turns his attention to replacing his lieutenant governor.
"The process is just beginning right now since the governor has been busy with his budget and other issues," veteran Bush political adviser Cory Tilley said Thursday. "He'll give some thought to a wide variety of people with a wide variety of backgrounds."
Outgoing Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, named last month by Bush to be secretary of state, said she was focusing on new duties and not concerned about speculation she's in the mix to replace Brogan.
"I guess I should be flattered," Hood said Thursday when asked about the job.
Another Orlando woman, former Senate President Toni Jennings, and state Rep. Dudley Goodlette from Naples, who had lunch Thursday with Bush, are also possibilities. A top Democrat who has helped Bush over the year, former Public Service Commissioner Julia Johnson, is mentioned as a possibility.
Bush political ally John Thrasher, a former House Speaker who is now a lobbyist and chairman of the Florida State University Board of Trustees, is one name that won't go away.
Former Attorney General and Secretary of State Jim Smith meets Bush's desire to have someone qualified to be governor and may not have future political ambitions.
Smith, however, may have earned a pass by returning to the secretary of state's office last summer to supervise the fall elections in the wake of Katherine Harris' bizarre departure. He also recently agreed to become a trustee at his Florida State alma mater.
Bush, however, claims he hasn't spent much time worrying about a replacement for No. 2 and will wait until Florida Atlantic trustees make their recommendation.
"Haven't given it much thought," said Bush, who has been asked daily about it for several weeks now. "It's not necessary to rush into it. Not considering anyone right now."
Bush, however, reiterated that Brogan needs to move on if he's named president at the Boca Raton university.
Brogan was a replacement candidate himself, taking over when Bush's first choice - former Secretary of State Sandra Mortham - stepped down in the wake of allegations she mismanaged her Cabinet office.
As he did when he persuaded Brogan to leave his job as the state's education commissioner to run with him in 1998, Bush would need to find a consensus candidate.
Democrats are preparing a possible legal action that would force Bush's choice onto the ballot for voter ratification in 2004.
"You would have the incumbent and if there is a challenge from another party, there would be a challenger," state Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox said Thursday. "The people would decide who makes a better lieutenant governor."
There are other considerations as well. Bush will have to be sure he's on solid legal ground with the choice. A residency requirement appears to eliminate former lottery director David Griffin, now a top Bush adviser. The state requires candidates for elective office to live in Florida for seven years. Griffin came to Florida after Bush became governor in 1999.
Tilley said Bush will be cautious about making his selection. "He wants to be careful he makes the right choice," Tilley said about the governor. "It's a one-shot deal."
For practical purposes, Bush has been without a lieutenant governor for the most part since Thanksgiving. Brogan married a 26-year-old law school student in mid-December, honeymooned in the Caribbean and has spent much of January schmoozing with Florida Atlantic trustees.

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