It’s up to Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott to pick a new lieutenant governor, and late last week he floated a surprising option—one-term Congressman Allen West, the Florida Republican who lost his bid for reelection in November to Democrat Patrick Murphy.
Jennifer Carroll, the former lieutenant governor, stepped down in March amid an investigation into her relationship with a charity organization.
In a radio interview on Friday, Scott suggested that West "is a great American and a great patriot... he'd be a great Lieutenant Governor."
Yes, this is the same Allen West who suggested that about 80 Congressional Democrats were members of the Communist Party. The same Allen West who confessed that “when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.” The same Allen West who sent an email to Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2011, suggesting that she was both “not a lady” and “ the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives.” The list goes on. (no really, it does.)
It's now six months since Florida voters decided not to send Allen West back to Congress. Yes, it was a slim victory for Patrick Murphy. But still, when poll analyst mastermind Nate Silver singles out Rick Scott as the most vulnerable among governors looking at a tough bid for reelection and 18% of Republicans think he's too conservative, why consider a Tea Partier who's recently been voted out of Congress?
Scott is not exactly a popular figure in his home state these days. A recent Public Policy Polling survey had his approval rating at just 33%. Even Republicans seem to have gone somewhat sour on him, he received 46% approval from them in that same poll.
Rumors are swirling that former Governor Charlie Crist might enter the race against Scott in 2014, and polls show that the Republican-turned-Democrat has the edge.
All this seems like a good reason for Rick Scott to be in full-on damage control mode. On one hand, it’s clear his bid for reelection will come at no small cost. According to Politico, Scott’s recipe for reelection could cost up to $100 million.