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Scott Picks State Lawmaker for Running Mate in Florida Governor Race

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott named Jacksonville state Rep. Jennifer Carroll as his running mate Thursday. 

Carroll, 51, is a U.S. Navy veteran and mother of three who in 2003 was the first black female Republican elected to the Florida Legislature. If elected with Scott, she'll become the state's first black lieutenant governor. 

Carroll was being introduced in a news conference in front a Blue Angels jet on display at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. 

The Green Cove Springs resident is expected to help Scott by appealing to the state's black voters, who are overwhelmingly Democrat, and to women who might gravitate to Democratic nominee Alex Sink because of her gender. 

"Her conservative principles are in line with mine, and this fall we will present a clear choice between conservatives with business experience and a plan to create 700,000 jobs and liberal Obamacrats who want to bring the failed Obama agenda to Florida," Scott said in a statement. 

An immigrant from Trinidad, Carroll served 20 years in the U.S. Navy, working as a jet mechanic before retiring as a lieutenant commander. Elected to the state House in 2003, she's served as deputy majority leader and majority whip. She's also a former executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. She moved to Florida in 1986. 

Her 23-year-old son, Nolan Carroll II, is a rookie defensive back with the Miami Dolphins after being selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft out of the University of Maryland. 

Scott, a multimillionaire former hospital company CEO who never ran for office before, beat Republican opponent Bill McCollum in the Aug. 24 primary after a bitter campaign that saw Scott spend around $50 million of his own money blanketing the state with his TV commercials. 

Scott presented himself to voters as an outsider who was bucking the Tallahassee establishment. 

This week he's been on a "unity tour" of the state with Republican leaders who had supported McCollum in the primary. 

The governor's race became a two-person contest Wednesday when independent candidate Lawton "Bud" Chiles III dropped out and threw his support to Sink.