Jennifer Carroll's resignation raises political questions

Lieutenant governor leaves office amid gambling investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The ripple effect of Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's resignation can already be felt in Florida politics.

Experts say the Allied Veterans of the World Internet Cafe scandal will undoubtedly impact the governor's race.

"I think number one, it impacts the governor," said pollster David Beattie, president of Hamilton Campaigns. "He's had some fights with his own legislature. This is another distraction, important to deal with quickly."

Beattie works with Senator Bill Nelson and Mayor Alvin Brown. He told Channel 4 that Gov. Rick Scott has to move quickly if he wants to be re-elected.

"I think the recovery is how he finds someone who matches in a lt. governor," said Beattie. "It's not the highest profile job, but an office important from a constitutional standpoint, because they're next in line."

Channel 4 also spoke with political science professors Rick Mullaney and Marcella Washington.

"I think you're going to look foolish when you accuse people who haven't done anything wrong," said Mullaney, who teaches at Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute.

Florida's Democratic Party Chairman Allison Tant addressed the scandal and its impact on the image of Gov. Scott and Florida Republicans in a statement released Thursday.

"Rick Scott and his administration have made a mockery of the Governor's Office, embarrassing Floridians while failing to accomplish his legislative priorities. Scott campaigned on changing Tallahassee but his first three years have been more of the same corruption and waste that taxpayers have come to expect from Florida Republicans," the statement read.

Mullaney told Channel 4 he doesn't believe Carroll's resignation should reflect on Rick Scott. Meanwhile, Washington sees it as an opportunity that either party would jump on. 

"Of course Democrats are going to see opportunity and slam Republicans on this," said Washington.

"Political game is difficult -- you don't have to have proof, just allegations," said Mullaney.  

Lenny Curry, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, also released a statement on Thursday, saying, "In light of recent developments, RPOF is examining financial contributions that may be connected to any entities affiliated with the investigation and we are reviewing the most appropriate options."

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