TALLAHASSEE — Thirty-four people, including incumbent Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano, had applied for two Florida Public Service Commission seats through Wednesday — 24 hours before today's 5 p.m. deadline.
Many are familiar names who also applied for two other vacant seats on the five-member utility regulating panel, including five of the eight finalists for the first two openings.
Gov. Charlie Crist has yet to make those appointments.
On June 10, the PSC Nominating Council recommended the eight to replace former Commissioners David Klement and Benjamin "Steve" Stevens, after both Crist appointees failed to win Senate confirmation.
Crist said it was payback for voting down big rate increases sought by the state's two largest electric utilities, Florida Power & Light Co. and Progress Energy Florida.
Crist had appointed the pair because they lacked utility connections and he wanted to inject new blood into a commission that was being accused of being too cozy with the companies it regulates.
Argenziano and Commissioner Nathan Skop, whose terms expire at the end of the year, also voted against the rate increases.
Skop, a lawyer, has not yet submitted an application.
Other applicants for their seats include state Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs; Jacksonville City Council member Arthur Graham; Connie Murray of Sun City Center, who served on the Missouri Public Service Commission for 12 years; Tallahassee lawyer Charles Ranson; Kevin Wiehle, a legislative analyst for the state Senate Committee on Communications, Energy and Public Utilities; state Rep. Ronald Brise, D-North Miami; former Republican state Sen. Curt Kiser, now the commission's general counsel; Mary Bane, the commission's former executive director; former Florida State University and professional football quarterback Gary Huff, now a Tallahassee accountant; and retired Navy Capt. James Baumstark of Crystal River, who commanded nuclear submarines and then worked for Progress Energy and Consolidated Edison in New York.