Regalado, who served as finance chairman for her fathers 2009 mayoral campaign, agreed last year to pay a $5,000 fine for campaign finance reporting violations. Miami-Dade prosecutors and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the mistakes were sloppy bookkeeping, but its a red flag that would attract the attention of Scotts advisers during the vetting process.
Other names surfacing in speculation include Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, an attorney and deputy House majority leader; Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, a career educator who has taught English classes at Chipola College for 16 years and has been supportive of state workers; Pam Stewart, Florida K-12 chancellor; and Senate Majority Leader Lisbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers.
I love being a state senator, Benacquisto said.
Scott could choose a man for the post, and GOP strategist Stipanovich said gender no longer matters in a state where two women have served as lieutenant governor and several have run for governor.
Weve passed that milestone, Stipanovich said.
Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, who chairs the education budget-writing committee, said he was not interested. Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, a small business owner, will be termed out of the House in 2014. Scott is fond of Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, a restaurateur from a well-known Panhandle family, but he comes from a region where Scott performed well in 2010.
Republican strategist Rick Wilson suggested Scott ignore the advice of political consultants who will suggest he try to fit a running mate into a series of demographic or geographic boxes.
He should select someone who brings competence, integrity and a sense of direction, Wilson said. Hes made it very clear hes going to invest heavily in education in the coming year.
The search is expected to be overseen by Scotts top adviser, chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth, but Scott said that decision has not yet been made.
I havent even started on that, Scott said. Im focused on the session and making sure teachers get a $2,500 pay raise in case you havent remembered.