BY THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
Gov. Rick Scott is firmly behind Palm Harbor resident Jeffery Bragg to be the next insurance commissioner. Late Wednesday, the governor’s office called Bragg, a former executive director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, the “best candidate” for the job that could pay up to $200,000 a year. “Gov. Scott continues to believe that Jeffrey Bragg is the best candidate for the position and looks forward to further discussion on this by the Florida Cabinet,” Scott’s spokeswoman Lauren Schenone said in an email. “His 40 years of experience in the public and private sector, including at the Federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, make him an ideal candidate to serve Floridians.” The statement was issued hours after Scott met with state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, a former appointed commissioner of insurance in Iowa who is also seeking the job. Hager described the brief meeting as “very congenial.” Early Wednesday, the governor’s Cabinet aide, Kristin Olson, told other Cabinet aides that Scott would like to “interview Mr. Bragg again and have him considered.” Scott and the Cabinet are set to interview finalists for the job on Tuesday, but the governor and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater must first agree to a recommendation to eventually replace Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. Atwater, who previously backed Hager and on Wednesday said he still rated Hager over Bragg, was expected to announce his pick for the post late Thursday.