Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott this morning selected State Representative Jennifer Carroll as his running mate for Lt. Governor. In making the announcement Scott said “Her conservative principles are in line with mine, and this fall we will present a clear choice between conservatives with business experience and liberal Obamacrats who want to bring the failed Obama agenda to Florida.”
Carroll, 51, is the mother of three children and her son Nolan is the cornerback for the Miami Dolphins. She was born in Trinidad and moved the United States at age 8. She served twenty years in the U.S. Navy before retiring as a Lt. Commander. Carroll was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in a 2003 special election where she has established a solidly conservative voting record.
She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, has an MBA, and is an NRA member. At a press conference this morning she said: “Rick and I share core conservative principles like lower taxes, less regulation, and smaller government, and I believe Floridians are ready to elect a conservative outsider with private sector experience and a plan to create 700,000 jobs.”
When U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) resigned last year many conservative activists were urging Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint Carroll to the vacancy. Reporters noted that if appointed, Carroll would be the first Republican and only the second black woman in history to serve in the Senate. She said:
I’ve been the ‘first Black’ for a number of things. That’s insufficient. It’s what you do with it that really counts. . . It would be a great message, especially to our young ladies, if I were appointed and on the national scene. It would mean anything is possible if you are prepared. When a door is open, be equipped and prepared. They should know that the world is their oyster, and that they shouldn’t limit themselves to their four walls. It would be a great way for me to help others and expand opportunities for others.
Several political observers had an immediate reaction to the announcement:
- Ann Yarko of Tallahassee: “We need Jennifer’s conservative leadership. I am so proud of her.”
- Debbie Mortham of the Florida Coalition for Children: “I am very excited to have a true conservative team on the ballot.”
- Dawn Butterfield of West Melbourne: “Now there is no stopping Rick Scott from turning around the culture of corruption we have in Florida. Picking Jennifer Carroll was a brilliant move. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Alex Sink, is popular and qualified. With Carroll on the GOP ticket there is hope.
- Melba Hayden of Orange Park said she had reservations about Scott because of primary campaign. Based on his selection of Jennifer Carroll, Hayden now says she is solidly in the GOP camp. The position of Lt. Governor was created in 1968 and is unique in that no job description has been created for the office.