Blame Jeb for Buddy Johnson?
"Buddy Johnson is a native of Hillsborough County who has been a dedicated public servant. As a past member of the Florida House of Representatives, he has shown the leadership and dedication needed to serve as supervisor of elections."--Jeb Bush's office, Jan. 2003, on the appointment of Johnson to succeed Pam Iorio as Hillsborough elections supervisor.
Fast forward six years, and the elections office is a disaster and Johnson is a disgraced former elections supervisor whose performance is under review by the FBI. Tampa Mayor Iorio today laid some of the blame squarely at the feet of Jeb Bush, while applauding the law enforcement review.
"It was a very poor appointment," Iorio said, contrasting the Johnson appointment to Crist appointing former Pasco Elections Supervisor Kurt Browning as Secretary of State. "When governors have these constitutional appointments to make, they really have to look at individuals who have solid backgrounds, particularly in elections....It's been heartbreaking to me. When I left that office in January of 2003 I turned an office over to my successor that I was very, very proud of. We really thought we were one of the best offices in the state, ran it with integrity, always frugal with the money, ran good elections, and my staff was just top notch...It's been heartbreaking to me to see what happened over the last six years to that office."
At a joint appearance with Crist, Iorio and St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker today to discuss the federal stimulus package, the governor said he did not see the need for a state investigation into Johnson: "I think the feds will do fine. I don't think we ought to get in the way of what they're doing."