Sink expected to pick former Gainesville prosecutor Rod Smith for running mate

TALLAHASSEE — Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is expected to choose Rod Smith, a former state attorney and Gainesville state senator, to be her running mate in the race for governor, with an announcement on Thursday in West Palm Beach.

The choice of Smith comes after a two-month search of candidates that was narrowed to four finalists, including state Sen. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat who is in a tight primary battle for attorney general, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and Sarasota state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald.

Smith, 60, a former Alachua County state attorney who lost the 2006 Democratic primary for governor, could not be reached for comment.

Sink has scheduled a "major announcement" in West Palm Beach. Smith, a state senator from 2000 to 2006, was state attorney for the Eighth Judicial District in from 1992 to 2000, during which he successfully prosecuted serial killer Danny Rolling.

Both Sink and her husband, Bill McBride, himself an unsuccessful candidate for governor, had been actively courting candidates since June, with the hopes of naming a running mate in time for the Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in July.

When that didn't happen, Sink was expected to wait until after the Aug. 24 primary to make her announcement, when the Democratic race for attorney general was settled and she knew which Republican she would be up against in the general election.

But Gelber reportedly urged Sink to choose Smith, so she decided to move ahead with the announcement, and chose West Palm Beach because Smith spent part of his childhood there. He is a graduate of the University of Tulsa and the University of Florida law school. Smith and his wife Dee­Dee have three grown children.

Staff writers Marc Caputo, Beth Reinhard and Lee Logan contributed to this report.

Sink expected to pick former Gainesville prosecutor Rod Smith for running mate 08/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:38am]

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