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John Thrasher Resigns From Gov. Scott Campaign After Selected For FSU President

FSU John Thrasher.jpg
Posted at 10:55 AM, Sep 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-02 06:25:01-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Newly selected Florida State University president John Thrasher has stepped down as chairman of Governor Rick Scott's reelection campaign.

Thrasher, a current Republican state senator, however remains in campaign mode himself, seeking reelection for his current Senate seat. His district includes St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties.

"As a result of the events yesterday, I had a conversation with the Governor, where he and I agreed that it is best for me to immediately step down as Chairman of his Re-election Campaign," Senator Thrasher told WTXL.

Sarah Bascom with Thrasher Senate campaign confirmed to WTXL that Thrasher sent a letter Wednesday morning notifying the Scott campaign he was stepping down after being selected Tuesday as the next president of Florida State University.

Thrasher's appointment as FSU president still needs the approval of the Florida Board of Governors. They are not expected to take up the issue until their next board meeting scheduled for the day after the November election, which is why Thrasher remains on the campaign trail for his current Senate seat.

Thrasher, a Florida State University graduate himself, beat out three other finalists for the top job at FSU. His candidacy however was marred with tension and protest from members of FSU's faculty and student body who were critical of Thrasher's lack of educational experience and background and previous political efforts.

Thrasher also received large criticism during the previously Legislative session after filing a funding proposal that would have split up the current FSU-FAMU College of Engineering.

Despite the protests, Thrasher also obtained growing support from other groups of students and school leaders.

Board of Trustees member Peggy Rolando expressed concern in the hiring of Thrasher, telling fellow board members just before Tuesday's vote that she believed too much emphasis was putting placed on the perception of Thrasher's ability to raise additional funding for FSU.

"The choice apparently being made could come back and bite us and may be self defeating," Rolando told the Board of Trustees. "We're not picking up extra points by selecting a non academic...there is a notion there is a pool of money when there isn't. You're setting him up to fail."

Other members of the Board of Trustees, including Leslie Pantin said "funding is critical" for the future of Florida State University. Trustee Joseph Gruters also supported Thrasher for the job, highlighting the only candidate who had graduated from Florida State University, telling fellow board members that Thrasher "bleeds garnet and gold".

"When I look at all of the leadership positions Thrasher has had, it tells me that he's a great team builder," Gruters told fellow board members, responding to critics of Thrashers questioning his ability to bring the university leadership together to create a cohesive team.