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: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
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