Rick Scott's No. 2 expected to be Rep. Jennifer Carroll

By Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE — Rick Scott’s running mate on the Republican ticket for governor is expected to be state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, a U.S. Navy veteran and mother of three who, if elected, would be Florida’s first African-American lieutenant governor.

Scott will unveil his pick today in a campaign fly-around beginning in Jacksonville, a major hub of Republican voters near Carroll’s home in Fleming Island.

In choosing Carroll, Scott, himself a Navy veteran, would get a woman with a distinctive personal story who could neutralize the gender appeal of his Democratic opponent, state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink:

• In a state where one in every seven voters is black — and nearly all of those are Democrats — Carroll is an African-American Republican.

• As a native of Trinidad, Carroll is an immigrant who could help soften Scott’s hard-line image on an issue that cuts both ways in a state with a large immigrant population.

• She packs a celebrity punch: Her son, Nolan II, is a rookie cornerback and kick returner for the Miami Dolphins, drafted out of the University of Maryland.

“She’s an immigrant and she worked her way up and she did everything through hard work. That’s very similar to Rick’s background. There’s a lot of similarities between the two of them,” said Jen Baker, Scott’s campaign spokeswoman.

Carroll, 51, made Gov. Charlie Crist’s short list of possible running mates in 2006. She was also among those listed as possible successors to Mel Martinez, who resigned his U.S. Senate seat last year.

Scott’s camp is aggressive in challenging what it considers off-base speculation on political blogs. When blogs named Carroll as his pick Wednesday, the campaign raised no objection.

To read more, visit: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/rick-scotts-no-2-expected-to-be-rep-jennifer-carroll/1118981

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