Bill Nelson is not stupid
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Is being Florida's Lieutenant Governor a jinx?

220px-Thomas_Burton_Adams,_Jr220px-John_Wayne_Mixson  220px-Lt_Gov_Ray_C._Osborne,_Official_Portrait220px-James_Hunter_Williams 220px-49_Mackay220px-Carroll,_Jennifer   220px-Lieutenant_Governor_Bobby_Brantley 220px-Lt_Gov_Frank_Brogan 220px-Official_Portraint_of_Lt._Governor_Jeff_Kottkamp 220px-Toni_Jennings2

Did no one pull Carlos Lopez-Cantera aside and warn him? Being Florida's lieutenant governor is  a jinx on political careers.

Lopez-Cantera, or CLC as some call him, may find that being LGCLC is not the beginning but the end of his political career.

Since the adoption of the 1968 state Constitution reinstating the office of lieutenant governor, not one of Florida's 10 previous lieutenant governors have been able to win higher office. Not one. Some have tried, all have failed. 

Jim Williams, Tom Adams, Buddy MacKay - each ran for governor and lost.

Toni Jennings considered running for governor and decided against it.

Jeff Kottkamp ran for attorney general and lost.

Two did become governor. Wayne Mixson was governor for three days - January 3-6, 1987. Mixson took office because Gov. Bob Graham needed to resign to be sworn in as Florida's new United States Senator.

Mixson, who is now 91, retired from politics after those three days. Perhaps there is a message there for ambitious LGs.  Mixson did get an official portrait leaving many to wonder - who is that?

Buddy MacKay was governor for 23 days following the sudden death of Gov. Lawton Chiles on December 12, 1998. A month earlier, Democrat MacKay lost a race for governor against Republican Jeb Bush.

Kottkamp became "Acting Governor" for several hours when Gov. Charlie Crist went under anesthesia for knee surgery. This did not earn him a portrait.

Bush had a string of running mates. Tom Feeney was his choice in 1994. Feeney was not the ideal candidate and the pick contributed to Bush's narrow defeat. In 1998, Bush picked Secretary of State Sandra Mortham to be his running mate. She was quickly plagued with a series of embarrassing revelations about political favoritism and questions about her use of the department's money for self-promotion.

Bush replaced her with Frank Brogan. They won and Brogan stuck around long enough to win reelection in 2002. In early 2003, Brogan quit to become president of Florida Atlantic University. Bush than appointed Toni Jennings to replace Brogan.

While Bush holds the record for running mate picks (4), Rick Scott could give him a run for the money. Scott is on this second shot-gun marriage with Lopez-Cantera replacing Jennifer Carroll.

Scott sent Carroll packing without even a "Goodbye" after there was a hint of scandal that, nearly a year later, appears to have nothing to do with her. Having picked the first African American woman to be L.G., Scott can now claim to have the first Hispanic L.G.

One of the problems with the job of lieutenant governor is that there is nothing to do.


This was not always true. From 1865 to 1889, the LG was elected independently and served as president of the Florida Senate. The office was abolished until the 1968 constitution.

Florida's LGs are often unhappy people. Governors usually forget about them and the governor's staff is often dismissive. And in most cases, they quickly learn that their job is to never publicly disagree with the governor (and sometimes not privately either).

There is no doubt that most end up having happy lives. But while they may dream of higher office (and begin to think they can do the job better than the governor who picked them), history suggests that LG is the end of the road.

No doubt LGCLC believes he can end the LG jinx. 


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