Race to Succeed Jeb Bush Off and Running… Sort Of

The first poll for the 2006 governors race has three top Republicans with varying support for the job. None of the three have officially said they are running, but that isn’t stopping them from trying to out maneuver one another.

Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist, CFO Tom Gallagher, and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings all have their eyes on the state’s top job.

Since Christmas, Crist has opened a 50-year-old civil rights case, settled a suit with A T&T and offered up his own first ever law enforcement of the year award.

CFO Tom Gallagher has held news conferences for the Healthy Kids Program, and gotten high profile TV time for letting an 11-year-old set up a lemonade stand in the Capitol after she was denied a permit for the stand in Miami Beach.

Lt Gov. Toni Jennings has been at the governor’s side at every high profile event, including playing a role in announcing his budget request.

Ask any of the three if they are running, and the answer is interchangeable.

Never before has the Republican Party had so many viable candidates for the state’s top job, and with that viability comes the potential for dissension.

So for now there are smiles, but the gloves are about to come off in the race to succeed Jeb Bush.

The governor “wannabes” are reluctant to admit they are running now because once they become official candidates, everything they do for the campaign has to be separated from their official duties, and everything they do in public will be viewed as campaign fodder rather than public service.