Sen. Hays, college president hopeful, sees a new opportunity
Republican Sen. Alan Hays of Umatilla, a candidate for the presidency of his hometown state college, also is said to have his eye on the high-paying job of Lake County supervisor of elections. Contacted Wednesday, Hays didn't deny it.
"I'm keeping my options open. I'm not ruling out anything. That's all I need to say," Hays told the Times/Herald.
Hays is an announced candidate for re-election to the Senate in 2016. If the retired dentist also retires from the Senate, it would add another layer of unpredictability to the power struggle between Sens. Joe Negron and Jack Latvala for control of the Senate in November 2016. Hays is a Latvala supporter.
Negron claims to have the 14 Republican votes necessary to win a majority of the 26-member GOP caucus. Senate President Andy Gardiner has called a caucus vote for Dec. 2 to designate his successor.
Lake County's long-time election supervisor, Emogene Stegall, is retiring, and Hays' possible interest in the $120,000-a-year elections post was noted in a recent Orlando Sentinel column. Two senators have said they expect Hays to forgo re-election in favor of the elections post, but Hays says that's premature.
"They haven't heard that from me, so if they're counting on my seat being empty, they may be counting prematurely," Hays said. Republican Reps. Larry Metz of Yalaha and Marlene O'Toole of Lady Lake are being mentioned as possible candidates for Hays' seat if it becomes vacant.