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Florida Gov. Rick Scott formally announces run for Senate, challenging Bill Nelson

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott launched his long-anticipated challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson on Monday, ...

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 5:39 PM
Updated: Apr 9, 2018 5:40 PM

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott launched his long-anticipated challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson on Monday, officially kicking off one of 2018's most important -- and likely most expensive -- races.

Scott announced his entry into the race in interviews and a video posted on his social media accounts reviewing his two terms as governor.

"I never planned to fit in, and I won't fit in in Washington, either," Scott says in the video. "It's time to shake that place up. We don't need another politician in Washington. It's full of politicians, and that's why it's broken."

Scott has served in the governor's mansion since 2011 and has long been courted to join the Senate race.

Asked if he considers himself a "Donald Trump Republican," Scott told Politico: "I consider myself Rick Scott. I don't consider myself any type of anything." The governor would not tell the publication whether the President would campaign for him.

In a statement, Nelson said: "I've always run every race like there's no tomorrow -- regardless of my opponent. While it's clear that Rick Scott will say or do anything to get elected, I've always believed that if you just do the right thing, the politics will take care of itself."

Scott was the last major Republican recruiting target on a 2018 Senate landscape that features Democrats defending seats in 10 states that Trump won in 2016. He's been viewed as the only Republican with a chance of seriously challenging Nelson.

Scott previously won two close races for governor. He's also shown he is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars of his own money on campaigns -- a trait that is especially important in Florida, a large and expensive state for television advertising.

Anticipating Scott's entry into the race, Democrats have spent months readying their attacks on his two terms in Tallahassee.

The Senate Majority PAC, a Chuck Schumer-aligned super PAC, released a digital ad over the weekend as part of a six-figure campaign this week blasting Scott for cutting businesses' taxes while raising property taxes and slashing education funding.

"History has proven that if you want to predict how Rick Scott will act, figure out what will benefit his political career and his bank account," said J.B. Poersch, the super PAC's president.

In a memo sent to reporters Monday morning, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Mindy Myers previewed the party's line of attack against Scott by calling him "self-serving and dishonest" and saying he is "looking out for himself at Floridians' expense."

Myers said Scott's actions as governor have made him $46 million richer. She also highlighted the deaths of 14 seniors in a nursing home during Hurricane Irma and accused Scott of deflecting blame for the Parkland shooting and the Florida International University bridge collapse that killed six people.

Myers pointed out that Scott's gubernatorial wins in 2010 and 2014 came in tight races, and that Florida has seen a shift in Democrats' favor since Trump took office -- including wins in the St. Petersburg mayoral race and two hotly contested state legislative special elections.

"Scott's self-serving political brand, his administration's failures and a hostile political environment will all cripple his campaign," Myers said.

South Dakota Republican Sen. Mike Rounds signaled support for Scott on CNN's "New Day" Monday morning, though stopped short of a full endorsement.

"Senator Nelson is a friend of mine. He is a hard worker. At the same time we need votes," he said. "I would welcome (Scott's) inclusion in the race."

This story has been updated with additional information.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37542

Reported Deaths: 1272
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds304154
DeSoto200920
Madison150839
Jones123149
Harrison118316
Rankin113719
Neshoba104577
Forrest104343
Lauderdale97281
Scott83115
Jackson80419
Washington75313
Copiah67516
Leake63520
Lee63022
Grenada6259
Oktibbeha62328
Warren60021
Holmes59841
Lamar5847
Wayne56819
Yazoo5667
Lowndes54917
Leflore53956
Lincoln53835
Pike51120
Lafayette5094
Sunflower5058
Panola4616
Monroe46036
Simpson4533
Covington4505
Bolivar41618
Tate39513
Attala38624
Newton37710
Adams36720
Pontotoc3636
Marion34912
Claiborne31511
Pearl River30832
Chickasaw30219
Winston30211
Marshall2973
Jasper2826
Noxubee2799
Walthall2748
Clay26211
Smith25612
Union25612
Coahoma2356
Clarke22825
Lawrence2162
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1974
Montgomery1863
Kemper18414
Carroll18311
Humphreys17410
Calhoun1705
Hancock15213
Itawamba1478
Tippah14711
Jefferson1373
Webster13511
Prentiss1274
Tunica1263
George1253
Jefferson Davis1254
Greene11610
Alcorn1112
Amite1113
Tishomingo1091
Quitman1011
Wilkinson1019
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin572
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
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