Republican Sen. John Thrasher says he’s never wanted to be the only candidate for president at Florida State University, as faculty members say they’ve “lost confidence” in the search process.
Thrasher, widely considered the front-runner for the job, said Friday he has the skills to boost his alma mater to a national top-25 academic ranking. He also said he would be honored to get the job and denied being engaged in a “nefarious plot” to circumvent the search process.
“In politics, not everyone agrees with you. In this world, where we are now, not everyone is going to agree with you, not everyone is going to like your background,” Thrasher said.
Thrasher, 70, is an influential figure in state politics. Currently chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, the St. Augustine Republican served as House speaker from 1998 to 2000. Also, he is chairman of Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign and previously served as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
D’Alemberte, a Democrat who served in the state House from 1966 to 1972 and was the university’s president from 1994 to 2003, nominated Thrasher for the presidency.
A 1965 graduate of FSU who also later received his law degree from the university, Thrasher has helped funnel millions of dollars in state money to the Tallahassee campus.
Thrasher was expected to have an exclusive interview for the job, but that changed Tuesday when FSU Trustee Ed Burr, the head of the search committee, announced the process would be reopened because additional applications had been submitted.
Thrasher said he is fine with the change. The search committee will meet Wednesday in Tallahassee.
“I’ve never wanted to be the only guy out there, where I’ve been getting the arrows shot at me, I’d love to have some other people involved in it too,” Thrasher said.