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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) - A top Republican state senator and current chairman of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign is now the lone candidate to become Florida State University president.

In a highly unusual move, an FSU search committee on Wednesday narrowly voted to interview John Thrasher for the job. Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, is a former House speaker and FSU alumnus who helped his alma mater get a medical school.

The 15-9 vote came after search committee members heard from a consulting firm that FSU was having trouble attracting candidates because of the perception that Thrasher was going to get the job due to ongoing media reports.

Students and faculty members on the committee protested the decision.

Former FSU President Eric Barron stepped down earlier this year to become president of Penn State University.

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