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Florida waits for Rick Scott to make up his mind about the Senate

It's perhaps the biggest question still lingering above the battleground map for the 2018 midterm elections: Will Flo...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 10:00 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 10:00 AM

It's perhaps the biggest question still lingering above the battleground map for the 2018 midterm elections: Will Florida Gov. Rick Scott run for the Senate?

For a year, Republicans have expected -- and hoped -- that Scott would run against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, giving them a top-tier challenger in a state President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Republicans expect -- and hope -- that Scott will run against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson

A Scott candidacy would force national Democrats to pour money into the Florida race

More importantly, a Scott run would shape the national landscape by requiring Democrats to pour money into Florida's huge and expensive media markets that could otherwise be spent bolstering the party's nine other incumbents in states that Trump carried.

But the election is now 11 months away, and Scott hasn't made a decision -- or even said when to expect one. Asked by local reporters this week, he responded that he had "390 days" left in his current role.

"He may run for the Senate, and he may not run for the Senate," Scott political adviser Curt Anderson said in an email Wednesday. He said Scott is "relentlessly focused on the job he has now."

"He will make up his mind when he is ready to," Anderson said. "He has a business mindset, not a political mindset. Unlike most politicians, he's not always thinking about another office to run for."

Trump has privately and publicly lobbied Scott for months to run against Nelson.

"I hope this man right here, Rick Scott, runs for the Senate," the President said in September, when the two were together to tour hurricane damage in Fort Myers.

Trump and Scott met Sunday for a New Year's Eve lunch before the President departed Florida -- another opportunity to urge the governor to enter the race.

Could the outreach from Trump, or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, sway Scott?

"He is unrecruitable. There is no one who can influence his decision. Not the President, not the majority leader, not anyone," Anderson said. "Anyone who really knows Gov. Scott knows that he is immune to lobbying attempts to get him to do anything, or not do anything. He's a very different cat."

Scott's term ends after this year, and he can't run for re-election. The two-term governor has also proven he can win close races in the swing state -- and that he'll spend from his personal fortune to do it. Scott pumped a total of $90 million into his two gubernatorial campaigns.

That wealth is what concerns national Democrats the most. Scott's entrance in the race would mean Democratic outside organizations need to pump money into one of the nation's most expensive states, siphoning resources from other states on the already vast 2018 battleground map.

Scott and Trump are personally close. Scott runs the pro-Trump New Republican super PAC, and he spent $2 million on an ad campaign from his Let's Get to Work committee.

The longest Scott could wait is until Florida's May 4 filing deadline.

It was clear in November, at a Republican Governors Association meeting in Austin, Texas, that Scott was keenly aware of the challenging political environment facing Republicans candidates in 2018.

Asked whether Trump would be an asset or a liability on the campaign trail, Scott said, "We'll see what happens in 2018."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
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