It doesn't take much to stoke the most popular parlor game in Tallahassee these days: Trying to figure out who Gov. Rick Scott will pick as his lieutenant governor and campaign running mate in 2014.
The latest name to gain circulation is George LeMieux, the former Charlie Crist appointee to the U.S. Senate who dropped out of the Republican primary against former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV last year and earlier served as former Gov. Crist's first chief of staff.
LeMieux was one of the 80 or so guests accompanying Scott on a week-long job promotion trip at the Paris Air Show. In a brief and over-the-top speech, he speaks glowingly about Scott working "from morning till late into the night" to turn around Florida's economy. "The state is doing great, and he has done an incredible job at it," LeMieux says in the video, released by Scott's office.
A case can easily be made for and against LeMieux. If Crist is the most likely Democrat to give Scott a run for his money, LeMieux makes sense from a political standpoint: Few know Crist better than LeMieux, he knows where a body or two is buried, and LeMieux can play rough if Scott wants a partner willing to play the hatchet man role. He has high-level state government experience, too.
On the negative side, he'll have to answer for all of his votes in the U.S. Senate, and his close association with Crist as the "the maestro" of Crist's 2006 victory. Then there's LeMieux's very unsuccessful campaign to hold the Senate seat Crist handed him in 2009 and the fact that he's a middle-aged white male lawyer from Broward County who will add no sizzle to the Scott ticket.
But before you dismiss LeMieux out of hand as an impossible choice, ask yourself: Did you think Crist would put him in the United States Senate?
-- Steve Bousquet