Young. Hispanic. Female. Republican. South Floridian. An education figure.
The descriptors for Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado make her a natural fit for Gov. Scott to consider as a replacement for Jennifer Carroll, who just resigned her post as Lieutenant Governor amid a scandal connected to an internet-gambling company.
Word of Regalado being approached rippled through Miami City Hall today where her dad, Tomas Regalado, is mayor. Raquel Regalado, who was initially approached Thursday to see if she wanted to be considered, didn't return calls for comment. It's quite a surprise, considering that Regalado supported Alex Sink, Scott's Democratic opponent, in the 2010 governor's race. Months later, Regalado said Miami-Dade would consider suing Scott over his education budget (more about that farther down).
So either bygones are bygones or there's some serious head-faking going on.
In addition to Regalado, Miami state Sen. Anitere Flores is also under consideration. She, too, has education roots, is Hispanic, female and Republican.
See a pattern?
With the Hispanic vote growing and highly sought-after, a Hispanic candidate is close to a must for Scott (but it's no guarantee). Regalado has solid name ID in Miami-Dade's Cuban-American circles. Cuban-Americans are a key constituency for Republicans in Florida. And Scott has room for improvement. His mishandling of a Cuba-contracting bill is still fresh in the minds of exile leaders.
Also, though Cuban-Americans are largely Republican voters, they're breaking more and more toward the Democratic Party along with younger voters in Florida. And unlike Flores, Regalado is more centrist (conservatives would say "liberal") in her political leanings.
Education is also a key issue for Scott. It helped kill his poll numbers early in his term when he called for cutting more than $1 billion from schools. Scott has tried to fill the hole (both in education and in his popularity) ever since. Perhaps he realizes that he should have listened to the Regalados of the world when she said his budget plans were worthy of a lawsuit. This year, Scott wants teachers to get a raise. The Legislature will probably say no, but we'll see at session's end, May 3.
By then, Scott will be closer to making a decision on his LG. It's likely he'll decide weeks after the close of the lawmaking session, not immediately afterward. After all, not only is the lawmaking session taxing enough, the post-session period is time-consuming because Scott has to decide what bills to sign, veto or allow to become law.
And if there's one thing Scott learned from choosing Jennifer Carroll, it's that he needs to make the right pick, whether it's Regalado, Flores, a politician from elsewhere in Florida (we've also heard former Fort Lauderdale Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff's name), or perhaps a teacher plucked from the frontlines of education of whom no one in Tallahassee has ever heard.