Sen. John Thrasher admits to caring deeply about Florida State University and trying hard to improve the school over his many years as a lawmaker and lobbyist. But the 70-year-old is not saying whether he wants to become FSU's next president, though many of his friends seem to think he will apply and is a shoo-in for the job.
In fact, Thrasher says he has not sought advice from anyone about the job or what it would mean for his Senate career. The St. Augustine Republican's current term runs through November, and he is up for re-election.
Thrasher is aware of and slightly annoyed by the buzz surrounding the rumors that he is the front-runner to replace outgoing FSU President Eric Barron. He blames it on friends in Tallahassee who know his affinity for FSU, but says he is not behind the not-so-quiet campaign.
"I can't control what they're doing," Thrasher said today. "I can control what I'm doing." He says his focus is the legislative session, which began this week, and continuing to work to get Gov. Rick Scott re-elected as his campaign chairman.
He denied one of the latest rumors, that he has talked to friends in the governor's office, including Chief of Staff Adam Hollingsworth, about the FSU job. "I've talked to them a lot about other things, but that is not something I'm talking about," Thrasher said.
He also dismissed a rumor that he has sought advice from the Senate's general counsel about whether ethics rules would allow him to serve as a state university president and in the Senate simultaneously or preclude him from voting on FSU related matters while he pursues the job. A Senate spokeswoman said attorney-client privilege would protect that conversation from public disclosure anyway, if it were to occur.