By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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*Victor Diaz: "I make it a point not to market in rumors. I'm not a candidate nor am I interested in being a candidate."
*Joe Garcia: "Some friends gave me a call and asked if I would be interested. My answer was that Bruce Kaplan is the commissioner, I think he's doing a good job, and that was it."
*David Pearlson: "I would like not to be a vulture, but I have heard little rumblings. If it were to happen, it would be unfortunate. I would give some thought to it at that time."
*Andres Rivero would not comment other than to confirm that he's heard his name mentioned in the context of the District 5 seat. Rivero, however, does point out that he doesn't live in the district. (Joe Pena, the governor's man in Miami, notes that a gubernatorial appointee need not be a resident of the district, though it has been the governor's practice to respect district boundaries in such appointments.)
According to Kaplan himself, all this rumormongering is meaningless because there will be no premature vacancy to fill. "I'm not going anywhere until the end of my term, which runs to the year 2000," Kaplan says firmly. He adds that he has heard none of the musings about possible candidates for appointment or election to his seat before the end of his term.
Still, despite the prematurity of all the gossip, Pena admits that some of these names might be seeping into Chiles's subconscious. "We're not going to be surprised," Pena allows. "Whether it's in my mind, the governor's mind, or his supporters' minds, there are some names. We don't want to be completely blank if something happens. But until something happens, it's unfair to both [Kaplan] and the process itself to speculate.