Since former Sen. George LeMieux accompanied Gov. Rick Scott’s trip to last week’s Paris Air Show, speculation has been popping up in Florida politics about Scott naming LeMieux to the lieutenant governor’s post that’s been vacant since March.
In an interview Thursday, LeMieux said there’s nothing to the speculation so far. He said he hasn’t been approached by the governor’s office or a third party about the job, and said it would be “presumptuous” of him to discuss it further.
The subject didn’t come up in Paris, he said, where Scott’s main focus was on corralling businesses for Florida.
“I was just pleased to be there and see the work the governor is doing,” he said.
LeMieux, chairman of the Gunster Law Firm, said comments he’s heard from business leaders throughout the state – Republican and Democrat – make him think an improving economic outlook will help Scott’s re-election bid, especially since Scott is unlikely to face a serious primary challenger.
“What I think the election is going to come down to is, how is Florida doing?” he said. “Florida is getting better.”
On the Democratic side, LeMieux said only that he expects a “very active” primary season to include the one announced candidate, former state Sen. Nan Rich of Weston, and the two people “looking strongly” like candidates: former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who lost to Scott in 2010; and former Gov. Charlie Crist, LeMieux’s boss and patron when Crist was still a Republican.
But that could change, LeMieux said, if a fourth name being talked about enters the Democratic race: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
“If Bill Nelson runs, I assume the other three don’t,” LeMieux said.
But considering the upcoming retirement of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Nelson’s likely rise to chair the Senate’s Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, LeMieux said he thinks a Nelson run for governor is unlikely.
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