Some predicted rookie mistakes from Scott when the political newcomer and unknown ran in 2010:
“We do not need that seat to be a seat where you’re learning, to be a seat where it’s for personal gain, to be a seat where the residents and the citizens of the state of Florida will be negatively impacted because of the lack of vision.”
Jennifer Carroll said that in August 2010. She was then backing Bill McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The next month, after Scott won the Republican primary, he picked her.
Carroll’s positives far outweighed her negatives at the time.
She was a legislator, so she knew far more about the Capitol than the neophyte Scott. As a black woman, she had appeal beyond the white-male base of the GOP. And as a veteran (she served in the Navy), Carroll appealed to Florida’s important military vote.
Telegenic and with a touch of glamour, Carroll has added star power: She’s the mother of Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll, perhaps best known for being the victim of a rule-breaking sideline trip from a dirty New York Jets coach during a game.
Scott’s vetting team was impressed with Carroll. But there were some concerns.
“She’s a livewire,” said a Scott insider involved in the process. “She had the potential of saying something dumb.”
That happened months after Scott got into office.
A disgruntled employee gave The Florida Times-Union secret recordings of Carroll and her chief of staff. The former employee, Carletha Cole, was fired only to claim she caught Carroll in a lesbian tryst.
Carroll made the story catch fire by suggesting she couldn’t be a lesbian because she’s so good-looking. Outrage followed. So did an apology.
More recently, the governor’s office became concerned that Carroll was spending too much taxpayer money traveling.
With all that trouble, was Scott going to keep her on the 2014 ticket?
“It doesn’t matter,” Scott said the day after she quit. “She did the right thing for the state and her family.”
And she did the right thing for Scott.
But will Scott do the right thing for Scott?