Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger on Monday formally declined Gov. Rick Scott's offer to be considered as a possible lieutenant governor, becoming the second person on Scott's four-person short list to turn him down.
Eslinger sent an email to his employees saying he was "flattered and honored" to be considered, but that he will keep the job that he was first elected to in 1990. Last week, St. Johns County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Joyner also rejected Scott's offer.
The moves by Eslinger and Joyner suggest that neither men knew he was under consideration for the No. 2 post until they found out when the Times/Herald broke the story last week.
As a result, Scott now is down to two known candidates for the job, both from Hillsborough County: Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.
Here's the full text of Eslinger's message to his employees:
"As you may be aware, I was recently selected to be considered among four nominees for an appointment as the Lieutenant Governor of Florida. I spoke with Governor Rick Scott this morning and expressed how flattered and honored I was to be considered for the office of Lieutenant Governor. I did, however, respectfully decline to be further considered for this position. It is my intention to continue serving the people of Seminole County as their Sheriff. With your untiring assistance and dedication, we have built our organization into one of the finest law enforcement and corrections agencies known throughout our state. I am extremely proud to serve with each of you and appreciate the professional service you provide daily to our citizens.
"I have assured Governor Scott that he has my full support and cooperation now, and in the future, as we work in partnership to ensure the best possible quality of life for the citizens of Seminole County and the State of Florida."
-- Steve Bousquet