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Chris Smith in LG mix? "With like 50 other people"


For a Democrat to win the governor’s race, part of the key is to have a candidate that excites Broward Democrats -- the county has more than 560,000 registered Democrats, more than any other county in the state. In  2010, Broward’s turnout was a pathetic 41 percent and Democrat Alex Sink lost to Republican Rick Scott.

That’s why there is some buzz about if Charlie Crist (who hasn't yet announced) ends up as the Democratic nominee, he might look to Broward for his lieutenant governor pick. This is waaaay premature, but there is a tad of gossip floating around Broward that should Crist be the nominee, he will consider Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, as his No. 2.

Smith downplayed that possibility in an interview Monday.

“Me along with like 50 other people,” have been mentioned as possibilities, said Smith, who isn’t termed out of his Broward senate seat until 2016. “In political circles it seems to be a rumor out there. Whoever the nominee is, if the opportunity came up I’d have to seriously consider it.”

Smith said he hasn’t talked directly to Crist about him being a lieutenant governor candidate. (Some of the recent gossip could be fueled by the fact that the two sat together at the recent funeral of Dr. Mack King Carter, the pastor at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale.)

Former state Sen. Steve Geller of Broward who is advising Crist said that any decisions about a lieutenant governor are far off, but that Smith is “not completely out of left field. I would not be surprised if you saw a lieutenant governor who was from South Florida.”

Smith, a lawyer, would bring some strengths and diversity to the ticket: he is African-American, and the Senate Democratic minority leader. Not in his favor: black voters already heavily lean Democratic, fueling speculation that ultimately Crist might want someone who can tap into other constituencies including Hispanics or women. If tapped, expect a rehashing of Smith’s 1998 endorsement of Jeb Bush.

Smith is known as a charismatic politician and a strong advocate for changing Stand Your Ground and voting rights.