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Sink said her early LG choice helps her get 'out of the gate' after primary

Reached in Jacksonville on Tuesday, CFO Alex Sink wouldn't say why she's picking former state Sen. Rod Smith of Gainesville to be her running mate, but she will say why she picked him more than a week before the primary, when she'll learn who her general election challenger will be.

"I need to be prepared on Aug. 25 to be out of the gate, running hard, and I do need to have my team put together,’’ Sink said after a small early voting rally at the Jacksonville Firefighters Hall.“It takes time and vetting and thought, and that’s why I wanted to make a decision before the general election when there are obviously plenty of other distractions."

For the Democrat and former banking executive, it's an unconventional but pragmatic move, intended to meet her need for organization and give her some momentary attention as her Republican rivals, AG Bill McCollum and businessman Rick Scott, duke it out in a tight and bitter primary.

"People are sick of this, they don’t like it and they aren’t hearing any message from these candidates that is reflective of their lives and the struggles that they’re experiencing,'' Sink said. "I wanted to go out there and say: 'You have a choice.'”

Sink refused to elaborate on her reason for picking Smith, what he brings to the ticket, or how they'll overcome the insider label and other attacks. "Call me back Friday,'' she said, after the planned announcement in West Palm Beach on Thursday.

Sink, who has a little known opponent in the Democratic primary, Brian P. Moore, said that she was deliberative in her search, driven by a goal of finding a good partner.

"It’s an incredibily important choice,'' she said. "From the beginning, I have wanted a partner who will share my agenda for rebuilding our economy, somebody who has character and integrity and wants to, like me, reform government and education. For me, just as I’ve done in business, you cast a wide net and then you start reviewing and thinking about what all the possibilities are and choose the best candidate possible."