Who will replace Charlie Crist?
By The Times-Union Story
Wednesday, May. 13, 2009
With Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to run for U.S. Senate, the floodgates have opened. Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has already said he would run for governor if Crist runs for the Senate, a decision the governor announced Tuesday. The only remaining Cabinet members, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, are expected to follow Bronson into the race.
About him: Appointed agriculture commissioner in 2001, Bronson won the job twice more. He also serves as the state’s chief consumer advocate. He was the first statewide elected official to announce that he would run for governor if Crist were to jump to the Senate. His presence in the race with Attorney General Bill McCollum guarantees a Republican primary fight unless one of them backs down over the next year.
What they say: "It’s always good to have a contested primary. You get the best candidate." – Rep. Ronald "Doc" Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach.
Candidates to succeed him: U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla.; state Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis; former Suwannee County Commissioner Randy Hatch (D); former state Rep. Rick Minton, D-Fort Pierce.
About him: Elected attorney general in 2006, McCollum is the former U.S. House manager of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial who has run several statewide races. He came under fire this year for a public service ad that prominently featured McCollum warning parents about the danger of sexual predators online. The state’s chief lawyer, the attorney general is also involved in investigating and prosecuting complex, statewide criminal cases and representing the state in the appellate courts. McCollum is likely to announce next week.
What they say: "He’s a very smart man. I think he can bring some great ideas for us to move forward." – Rep. Jennifer Carroll, R-Fleming Island.
Candidates to succeed him: Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (R) and state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, have been mentioned.
About her: The state’s chief financial officer since 2006, Sink is seen as the likely Democratic candidate. While Crist was contemplating a bid for U.S. Senate, and many were pushing Sink to take him on, the state’s highest-ranking woman very publicly filed for re-election. But she began moving toward a run for governor as Crist edged closer to trying for the Senate, and could announce soon. As CFO, Sink enforces insurance fraud laws, oversees the state’s worker’s compensation system and treasury and serves as the state’s fire marshal.
What they say: "I think she’s had enough time to prove herself," said Rep. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville. "She’s very, very astute and she’s ready."
Candidates to succeed her: Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, and Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, are seen as possibilities.
They won’t be running: Former House Speaker Allan Bense, mentioned by some as a possible gubernatorial candidate, and U.S. Rep. Verne Buchanan were among those saying Tuesday they won’t run.