Miami Republican Carlos Curbelo was sworn into Congress last week -- which means Florida Gov. Rick Scott now has to choose someone to finish Curbelo's term on the Miami-Dade County school board.
There is no shortage of interest. Nine people so far have said they would like to be appointed, Scott's office said Wednesday in response to an inquiry from the Miami Herald.
One name in particular has resonated in local Republican circles: Lubby Navarro, who works in the school district's office of intergovernmental affairs.
Navarro's name has been whispered as a Curbelo replacement since he was elected Nov. 4. When asked about the possibility on Nov. 5, she was vague about her intentions. By Nov. 12 she had sent the governor a cover letter and résumé.
In addition to her existing ties to the school district, Navarro is a former state Capitol and County Hall aide, an elected Redland zoning council member and a longtime volunteer for the Miami-Dade Republican Party. Though school board seats are nonpartisan, Scott has usually filled seats with fellow members of the GOP.
The heir-apparent treatment of Navarro behind closed doors has bothered some Republicans, who privately gripe that they feel other qualified candidates may not get a fair shot as a result.
Rounding out the list of applicants are:
- Carolina Blanco, a teacher and elected West Kendall zoning councilwoman (and the daughter of former GOP congressional candidate Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck);
- Renier Diaz de la Portilla, an attorney and former school board member for a different district who most recently lost a judicial race last year (and whose brother is Republican state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla);
- Daniel Diaz Leyva, an attorney who lost a state House race last year;
- Duysevi Miyar, a teacher who lost a school board race last year to Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman;
- Eugenio Perez, a teacher who lost a 2012 House race to Rep. Michael Bileca;
- Libby Perez, a small-business owner who lost a 2012 House race to Rep. Jeanette Nuñez and a 2010 school board race to Curbelo;
- Anay Abraham de Naranjo, an educational consultant, and
- Ira Jay Paul, a retired teacher who applied for a school board vacancy in 2001.
--with Marc Caputo