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'Donald Trump will turn out to be Bill Nelson's best friend'

189 experts in Florida politics participated in this month's unscientific survey

Tampa Bay Times

189 experts in Florida politics participated in this month's unscientific survey



Check out the assorted comments from our latest Florida Insider Poll. We allow participants - many of them political pros, fundraisers, lobbyists, academics and the like - to weigh in anonymously so they can be honest without ticking off clients, colleagues, and friends.

Democrat: "There is no real primary threat to Senator Nelson.  The democratic primaries in FL have not been good for liberal outsiders in the past, thanks to a coalition of moderate suburbanites and non-whites that don't apply purity tests to candidates."

Republican: "Rick Scott will continue to distance himself from the healthcare bill to preserve his Senate run."

R: The way the Enterprise Florida is playing out one could conclude that Speaker Corcoran could be a candidate for either Governor or Senate.  He may be grandstanding issues to give himself a name in the GOP Primary for Governor.  OR he maybe beating up on Scott and Enterprise Florida because that is his ultimate target.

D: A Bill Nelson US Senate and Andrew Gillum Governor ticket is the best turnout opportunity Democrats have for the 2018 midterm.

R: Any Rep will have a difficult time against Nelson.  Trump is working the Democrats into a frenzy!

R: Adam Putnam should and will be the GOP nominee for governor. Corcoran is not qualified to be the governor....If Nelson runs again (and I hope he does not) he will lose. I expect the Democrats are recruiting a woman to run and trying to dissuade Nelson. Rick Scott naturally has the money to run for US Senate but he is not suited for the job as he functions always and best as a CEO, not one of 100.

R: Trump has drained the swamp enough to replace it with a media and political circus that has the nation teetering without a net.

R: I expect Scott to beat Nelson, who has never faced a serious opponent. I add one exception. If the Trump presidency is a glorified dumpster fire in 2018, it'll be difficult for any Republican to win statewide.

R: Bill Nelson and his team are doing everything they can to make Rick Scott think twice about running for Senate. But if the governor runs, I think there's a greater than 50-50 chance Nelson retires (I don't think he has a brutal $100 million race in him) or, and this would make things real interesting, opt to run for Governor and commit to only serve one term.

R: Our Republican Nominee for Governor will be an outsider like Congressman Francis Rooney from Naples.  Lot's of money and a solid record as a businessman and political leader who happens to be close to Rick Scott. 

R: The Trump - Et shall sound and the Dead shall be Raised (Handel: Messiah)

D: Unless the President's poll numbers improve and the Republican Congress passes a healthcare bill that has positive acceptance by the public, the midterm election will be disastrous for the Republican party.

R: The Corcoran vs. Scott battle is simply laying the foundation for 2018. Corcoran to win a primary for Governor by fighting against "Corporate Welfare" (even if that's not an accurate description) and Scott to show General Election voters he fights for jobs. We know Scott is a believer in jobs (look at any/every interview he has ever done), the question should be asked - Does Corcoran honestly believe in what he is selling or is it just to position himself to secure the prize? If he does, why didn't he stand up before this year?

R: Corcoran is running for Governor already, he just has not had the transparent decency to file the papers. .... In the Republican consultant's fevered dreams there is a far wealthier and more liquid GOP candidate than Rick Scott. That candidate is asking for their guidance and offering full control of the spending, polling and media commissions. Okay, Adam Goodman has that dream too, but it's about Philip Levine.

D: Corcoran's potential candidacy for Governor or Senate looms large over everything right now in the state. With conservative activist ideological backing, political savvy and strong funding sources, Corcoran will primary either Rick Scott or Adam Putnam it appears. I tend to believe it will be Putnam that he faces in a primary since Corcoran's ideological zeal and quest for power tends to fit state government better than being a junior member of the US Senate.

D: Democrats are facing something they haven't since 2002: an honest-to-God gubernatorial primary featuring several qualified candidates. For the doubters who think Republicans have a lock on the governor's mansion, remember this: Rick Scott outspent both his opponents by over $30 million and only won each election by a single point. No one expects any candidate to raise that kind of cash this time around, so anything can happen....Meanwhile, anyone who challenges Bill Nelson as a Democrat is a fool. He's an incredible politician who genuinely commands respect among the overwhelming majority of our party. ... And if Rick Scott isn't running for U.S. Senate, why has be been fighting so hard for a legislative win this session? Why has he been raising all that cash? It would be the shock of the cycle in Florida politics.

D: Florida is a 50/50 state. There is no way to sensibly handicap a 2018 Senate or Gubernatorial race this early (or, for that matter, the week before the election). 

NPA/Other: President Trump's environmental positions (like climate change and sea level rise) and proposed EPA budget raise serious questions and immediate concern for the Sunshine State's fragile environment and economy.

D: Having Trump in the White House, though a set back for our nation on so many levels, is a huge campaign boost to Sen. Nelson. Nelson will have a plethora of high profile issues handed to him by Trump that Nelson will use to grab the public spotlight. Nelson will be able to continually juxtapose his folksy common-sense with Trump's hysterics and unpopular policies. Scott will be in a perpetual state of rhetorical contortion, as we are seeing now with his awkward dance with Trumpcare.

R: I'd rate a Nelson/Scott race as a tossup. Nelson doesn't inspire much of anybody,  labeling himself a moderate and amassing a very liberal voting record. Couple that with the fact that he hasn't had a real race since he was first elected in 2000 - and he should be vulnerable. However, the midterm election is usually tough on the President's party and the political winds may not be in Scott's favor this time. Added to that is the fact that there are so many Democratic seats up this time - and national organizations have their sites set on other states that Trump won by much larger margins. Forced to make a choice, I say Nelson squeaks it out again, but don't underestimate Governor Scott. Rick Scott shocked the political establishment twice, riding strong Republican waves to victory in 2010 and 2014, but he may have finally met his match in Bill Nelson. ... Corcoran runs for Governor - that is unless he is pushed out by that wealthy outsider or his feud with Governor Scott intensifies and he runs for Senate. He could run for and win CFO. If he does run for Governor, he unfortunately doesn't share the same charisma as his former boss, and he ultimately fades away in a fate similar to other former Speakers of the House and Senate Presidents.

R: I still think a wealthy political outsider will announce for Gov in the Republican primary.  The reason we don't know who that person is is that no one knew who Rick Scott was at this time in the cycle (March before the election year).  An outsider wouldn't want to give that much time for someone to chew them up.  History tends to repeat itself on that front.   Putnam will be labeled as the "career politician" and go down....As for Corcoran, i don't believe there is room for him in a Governor's race, though that is clearly his dream.  Better for him to go for AG and use all the special interest money he can muster to bankroll his candidacy.  Then after getting more statewide attention there he can go for Gov in the future....Rick Scott will definitely run for Senate in 2018 - it's the job he really wanted in 2010.  He will have no serious challenger, because no one wants to run up against a $70 million buzzsaw.  Nelson will run again but face no serious opposition...because the Dems have such a weak bench and there really is no opposition out there that can take him on....In a Bill Nelson/Rick Scott race, I'd expect Nelson to win narrowly...because the Dems will nationalize the race as a referendum on Trump.  Though I love President Trump, midterms tend to move away from the party in power, especially if the President's approval ratings are in the 30s.  This can all change, and the Dems in Florida have often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but Nelson is a formidable foe and Rick Scott has barely won election in two very Republican years (2010, 2014).  The Dems will be energized by President Trump.

D: The President is mentally ill.

R: *Once again Florida will be "front and Center" in the 2018 elections.

*Speaker's leadership approach/Campaign for Statewide office  seems to be a bit of Deja Vu of a former  Speaker  and Senate Presidents' heavy hand , anti-lobbyists,  unsuccessful behaviors to run for higher State-wide  office:
               *use the Tallahassee Lobbying Corp. as a  punching bag ,
               * "must give" deep pockets tactics..,
               * and then end up losing  Big Time..
*Might want to be a bit careful about wanting drain the swamp....may find a few of those "bad persons" Lobbyists/Corp. Donor cancelled checks in the swap mud.

D: Richard Corcoran is acting like someone with his eye on the top prize, but he faces a foe more formidable than Adam Putnam: History. Since Florida became a state, no House speaker has moved directly to the Governor's mansion. Those House Speakers who later served as Governor had at least four years between their speakerships and governorships.  He might have a better chance running for the Florida Cabinet. After all, only 57 years have passed since House Speaker Doyle Conner was elected Agriculture Commissioner.

R: As governor Richard Corcoran can bring true change to how state government is run.

D: The Children (Bernie bro idiots) will probably talk about mounting a good liberal challenger to Bill Nelson, but I hope and believe that they won't really do it.  If they do and succeed, A Canova-type candidate would lose to Scott by 10+ points.  I believe Nelson will win.  Nelson should perform a few points above Trump.  If Trump is very strong, Scott wins.  If Trump continues the feces-show that he's been doing, Nelson wins.

D: Strange political times, nationally, which only enflames Florida politics and some who play in it to be as extreme as they want to be.

D: It's nothing more than a game of musical chairs until qualifying is over.

D: ...The smoke is turning into a hot ember. What happens when you combine 1) Roger Stone in contact with Gucifer and Julian Assange, 2) Michael Flynn's failure to disclose & register as a foreign agent while being paid and lying while receiving classified briefings 3) Paul Manafort representing a Russian loving Ukrainian President who killed his people serving as Chairman of the Trump campaign 4) an Attorney General nominee who commits perjury 6) 100's of Russians buying property owned by Trump.....etc. The answer could lie somewhere between a very good cycle for national Democrats and impeachment.

D: The President has shown himself to be despicable crackpot, lying grifter, and the embodiment of disrespect for people and the Constitution. The clock is ticking on his sordid involvement with Russia to destroy our democracy, his corrupt conflicts of interest that line his pockets at the expense of the American people, and his outrageous and completely baseless allegations of spying. The American people should get used to hearing the name "President Pence", which is itself a frightening prospect. God help us all.

R: Wouldn't be surprised if Corcoran raises $4-6 million running for Governor---then switches to AG race.

R: Hard to say between Scott and Nelson. Depends a lot on how President Trump is perceived...May largely be a referendum on Trump, the Republican Senate, and the success or failure of "the ACA repeal, The Budget, and the economy and perceived prosperity of our nation and state in Nov 2018.

D: Once more polling is out there and the focus shifts to the 2018 races, it is likely to become apparent that that name ID and favorability ratings will be low for both Gov. Scott and Sen. Nelson. It would be interesting to see both of them finally defined in a real primary.

R: There are now three parties in the political spectrum: The Trump Party, the Democrat Party and the Republican Party and the latter two better get with it or they are going to face serious opposition next election cycle!

D: Donald Trump will be a major drag on Republicans in Florida. Scott will not be asking him to campaign for him.  I am a bipartisan person who believes there has never been such an incompetent  president. He is a disgrace.

R: President Trump needs to remind Speaker Ryan who the President is and stick to his platform. He needs to implement tax cuts across the board for all people not just corporate taxes and those making over 400K. His 3 tax brackets are not sufficient nor do they go far enough.

D: Donald Trump will turn out to be Bill Nelson's best friend. 

R: Corcoran will run for governor if he can weather two sessions of every decision he makes being viewed through that prism. Scott will use his battle with Corcoran to run as the adult, non-politician against Nelson. They're "feud" only helps them both in name ID. Nelson still wins since he's as hard to corner on issues as an Everglades Python.

D: I strongly disapprove of Trump but I recognize he hasn't been wrong 100% of the time. For instance, he was right on the TPP and he's right that China has not done enough to reign in North Korea.

R: The only semi-credible alternative to Patrick Murphy - a politically moderate child of unimaginable wealth who was caught multiple times embellishing his professional experience - was Alan Grayson, a serially unhinged madman. There is no reason to expect activist Democrats will be able to muster up a stronger challenge to a sitting United States Senator.

D: Bill Nelson will face a tough reelect and will have to run a campaign of the likes he has never see before. With so much at stake for both the D's and R's this will be a national race. 

D: Trump will undoubtedly drag anyone who has been a constant and unwavering supporter down the tubes in the next election.

R: Corcoran's already running for the next office. 

R: A long way to go before either the Senate or Gubernatorial races are finalized.  Self funders change the dynamics of the game.

R: Donald Trump is doing incalculable damage to the Republican brand.  Every day, he says some crazily stupid and inaccurate thing, but his minions of Trump monkeys keep cheering him on as if he were Socrates reborn.

D: Trump will ensure that Scott shall not ascend.

D: Unfortunately, Democrats will double down on Nelson and it's a bad bet. It will cost the party a critical seat in the U.S. Senate. After decades of a lackluster career in public service, the best thing the senior Senator could do for is step aside and allow an  aspirational candidate to rise. 

R: Richard Corcoran should run for the Senate in 2018. Depending on how much Scott wants to invest in trying to buy a third office, Richard would be well positioned to finally rid Florida Republicans of Scott.

D: 2018 will be a Democratic year.

R: Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do during the campaign -- unlike most politicians -- people don't know how to react to that!

R: D.C. Meltdown continues.  Time to commence a countdown clock for executive resignation/quitting. 

R: Democrats are becoming the party of NO!  They have no leadership and a very thin bench.  As a result the vocal far left is taking over which is out of step with main stream America!

D: I am very hopeful that the Corcoran  Scott fight playing out during legislative session will continue into a fight for the senate nomination.


[Last modified: Thursday, March 23, 2017 1:58pm]


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