Following his victory in the Republican primary for Florida governor, Latino GOP strategists began urging Rick Scott (R-FL) to consider a Latino from South Florida as his running mate “to broaden his appeal and diffuse the immigration issue.” However, last week, Scott tapped Jennifer Carroll (R-FL), an African American immigrant from Trinidad, to share the Republican ticket with him as lieutenant governor. “Working together, we will broaden the base of our party,” Scott said as he introduced Carroll.
However, if Scott hopes to use Carroll to broaden a minority base that includes disgruntled Latino and immigrant voters who he has isolated via his hardline immigration stance, he may want to ask his running mate to brush up on her talking points. The Palm Beach Post published an awkward exchange between one of its reporters and Carroll in which she admitted that she hasn’t read the Arizona copy cat bill sponsored by Florida state Rep. Will Snyder (R). In fact, rather than answering a question regarding Arizona’s immigration law, Carroll asked the reporter to state her opinion. According to Carroll, she and Scott simply haven’t “gotten into the nitpicky as to how a bill is going to be crafted.”
In a separate interview, Carroll asserted that she supports Scott’s hard-line views on illegal immigration and his promise to enact a state law similar to Arizona’s:
“The bottom line is legal immigration. We cannot reward people for their illegal acts in coming to this country,” Carroll said. Even for legal immigrants like herself, she said, the process is “cumbersome, tedious and not friendly,” adding: “One thing we have to get away from is the race factor, because immigrants come from different backgrounds, like myself, from Trinidad. Not always Mexican.”
During his primary against Bob McCollum (R-FL), Scott poured millions of dollars into ads supporting Arizona’s tough immigration law and advocating for one like it in Florida. Snyder’s immigration bill, which McCollum unveiled as part of his campaign platform, was largely a desperate response to Scott’s pandering on the issue. Since then, GOP Latino leaders have been publicly asking Scott to abandon his anti-immigrant rhetoric. So far, there is no indication that either he or his running mate is listening.