Florida could have a new governor for less than a week

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Rick Scott is scheduled to begin his term as a U.S. Senator on January 3rd, but a new Governor won’t be sworn in until January 8th.

The Constitution says he can’t hold two offices, so Scott may ask the Senate to swear him in later so he can finish his term.

He could also resign and let the Lt. Governor have the top title, as happened just over 30 years ago.

In January 1987, then-Governor Bob Graham became a U.S. Senator, three days before his successor, Bob Martinez was due to be sworn in.

Graham resigned making Lt. Governor Wayne Mixson Florida’s 39th Governor.

Mixson, now 96, made the most of those three days.

He printed stationery.

He spent the night with his wife Margie in the Governor’s mansion.

“Never before has a Lt. Governor succeeded to the office of Governor,” said former Governor LeRoy Collins at Mixson’s inauguration. "He is a person of rare good judgment.”

The state could have and would have paid for it all, but Mixson did it all at his own expense.

“Well, I don’t enjoy the criticism, whether it’s just or unjust that would have come otherwise,” said Mixson.

Mixson even has a portrait hanging outside the Governor’s office.

Like everything else, he paid for it himself.

Rick Scott is scheduled to be a U.S. Senator five days before his term as Governor ends.

If Scott chooses to resign, Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera would become governor.

If that happens, Mixson’s advice is to make the most of those almost five days.

“I appointed between fifty and sixty County Commissioners or Water Management Districts and these kinds of things,” said Mixson. "It was a lot of fun. I felt relevant”

The only other Lt. Governor to succeed to the Governor’s office was Buddy MacKay. That was on December 12, 1998, the day outgoing Governor Lawton Chiles died.