Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, who’s been mulling a bid for governor, confirmed it’s unlikely it will happen in 2014. Though he left the door open a crack, he came close to shutting it on the notion of seeking the state’s top job.
“I’m really loving being mayor of Fort Lauderdale. Right now if I was forced to make a choice I’d probably stay mayor of Fort Lauderdale. It’s one of the coolest jobs, one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had,” he said in an interview with the Sun Sentinel.
Seiler, a moderate Democrat who has a history of working with Republicans, is a former state representative who rose to become one of the top Democrats in the Florida House of Representatives.
He’s serving his second term as mayor of Fort Lauderdale. Before his time in Tallahassee, he was mayor of Wilton Manors.
A Quinnipiac Poll of Florida voters in December found 93 percent of those polled said they hadn't heard enough about Seiler to form an opinion. Among the rest, he had a favorable rating of 4 percent and an unfavorable rating of 3 percent.
Here’s the Q&A with Seiler:
Q: Your sound like someone who’s pretty well down that path of not running?
Seiler: “I have not made any plans to run, I’ll say that.”
Q: That sounds a little stronger toward not running than you have in the past. You had the window more open the last time we discussed it?
Seiler: “Correct. But right now, everybody kept saying, well you had to make up your mind by last December. That was originally the thing, two year’s out. You had to make up your mind by November-December. That obviously came and went. [Then] people [were] saying well you have to know by January-February. That’s come and gone.
“If someone like Bill Nelson were to run I would be an incredibly, incredibly strong supporter of him. I think Bill Nelson has been great for the state of Florida. I think he’s been a great public servant. I like what he’s done in Congress. I like what he’s done in the Senate. I would be very happy to have Bill Nelson serve as our governor. And if he were to run, that would certainly play into my decision. But like I said I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bill Nelson, and a great friendship with him.”
Q: What about your old friend Charlie Crist?
“I get along very well with Charlie. I think the issue with Charlie is going to be how he addresses the issues. That really is the big thing with Charlie is when he comes out, if he’s going to run, is how does he address the issues.
“I had a good working relationship with Charlie when he was governor. He worked very well with us. Worked very well with all parties across party lines. But again, I haven’t had a chance to sit and talk policy with Charlie and I would certainly want to know what his positions are on a few issues before I made any commitment with that.”
Q: You sound as if you have a different level of support for Nelson and Crist?
Seiler: “From me, yeah…. I put Bill Nelson in that category with Bob Graham, Reubin Askew, Lawton Chiles. Just dome great public servants from the Democratic Party. When you look at the Lawton Chileses, the Bob Grahams, the Reubin Askews, I like their public policy approach. I like their education approach. I like the fact that they kind of would focus on some key issues whether the education, the environment the economy. And stay with them through ups and downs.
“I put Bill Nelson in that same category as a public servant in Florida. He’s been very solid. You know Charlie did his one term as governor. Like I said I like the guy, worked very well with him, but I need to hear more about his education policies, environmental policy, what does he want to do about the economy, so that’s kind of why I’m maybe a little less enthusiastic about Charlie than I am about Bill Nelson.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun