On one side we have Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announce he has "been approached" by Florida Atlantic University and has accepted the request to apply for the presidential post. On the other we have former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux announcing Sunday he's also adding his hat to the ring because he was "encouraged by members of the board of trustees." Hmmm.
Whose idea was it to publicly pit these guys against each other, who else has been "encouraged" and why the rush to get a politician?
According to the Associated Press, Gov. Rick Scott "praised LeMieux," in a statement.
"George LeMieux's pursuit of the FAU presidency is further proof that Florida's high-caliber universities attract the best and brightest talent in the country," Scott said. "FAU is fortunate to add to their list of presidency candidates someone like George who has a great vision for our state and would do an outstanding job as president."
Whoa. Was that an endorsement?
But wait, the governor also praised Atwater in a statement a day earlier -- but it reads as if he knew LeMieux's news was coming. He said Atwater has the "experience and skill to be an outstanding president."
"While the school will no doubt consider multiple, qualified, prestigious candidates for the job, FAU would be well served to have a leader like Jeff at the helm," Scott's statement said.
We know Scott is grateful to LeMieux, who served as chief of staff and campaign manager to former Gov. Charlie Crist, was rewarded by being named by Crist to the U.S. Senate to complete the term of former Sen. Mel Martinez in 2009 where LeMieux served for 16 months. Then LeMieux became a vocal critic of Crist and Scott loyalist once Crist jumped parties.
Perhaps, the Florida Legislature's penchant for politicizing higher ed may have some competition.