Thrasher's name surfaces for lieutenant governor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It has been seven and a half months since Florida's lieutenant governor resigned amid an Internet gaming controversy.

Dozens of names have been speculated about for a replacement, but one name is persistently mentioned.

Jennifer Carroll resigned as lieutenant governor just days into this past spring's legislative session. Rather than replace Carroll immediately, Gov. Rick Scott said he would wait.

"We will not turn our attention to this topic until after this session ends," Scott said in March.

Then the final gavel fell on the legislative session.

"I'm focused on it right now," Scott said in May.

That was the end of it, until now.

Like Washington D.C., there are no secrets in the state Capitol. One name, former House Speaker and now State Senate powerhouse John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine), keeps surfacing for the job. Respected lobbyist Pete Dunbar says the rumors are persistent.

"For several months, it doesn't seem to go away," Dunbar said. "I don't know that anybody knows what exactly the governor has to do, but in my mind John Thrasher would be a fabulous choice."

In a phone interview Tuesday, Thrasher said he hasn't spoken to the governor, but he did confirm the No. 2 job came up in a conversation with his chief of staff.

"He brought up some conversation about it, not in any specific way," Thrasher said.

Democratic political operative Steve Vancore said Thrasher could do the heaving lifting for the governor's office.

"Somebody who knows the legislative process, who can work with the members," Vancore said. "Nobody knows the process better than John Thrasher."

Until Scott names a replacement, Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over if anything happened to the governor.

There have been 10 lieutenant governors since the post was reauthorized in 1968. Two served briefly as governor: Wayne Mixon when Bob Graham was elected to the U.S. Senate, and Buddy MacKay, who served three weeks when Lawton Chiles died at the end of his term.