Don't underestimate Rick Scott re-election prospects
It's way too early to count out Rick Scott for a second term. • His poll numbers are stubbornly bleak — only one in three voters say he deserves a second term — and despite plenty of coaching, he still displays the natural charm and warmth of an automaton. • But 77 weeks before Election Day, Democrats lack a consensus candidate, Scott is methodically raising money for his re-election and every day the political landscape improves for him as Florida's economy perks up.
"It's working" is the governor's mantra, and whether credit belongs to Scott's policies, the White House or inevitable economic cycles, Florida's economy is rebounding under Scott's leadership.
"What Gov. Scott has this time that he didn't have before is a record, and it's a record of enormous success. Anybody that wants to be challenger should take a look at that record," said Republican consultant Susie Wiles of Jacksonville, who managed Scott's 2010 campaign. "If somebody thinks that Rick Scott won't have time, energy and resources to be re-elected, they're making an error in judgment."
The political rookie ran for governor promising to get Florida back to work, and since he took office the state has added nearly 300,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2008, 7.5 percent.
Four years ago, Scott was a controversial stranger to Florida voters and a virtual pariah to the GOP establishment that overwhelmingly backed then-Attorney General Bill McCollum. Even finding operatives willing to work for him, let alone raise money, was a struggle.
Today, Scott is the GOP establishment, and rather than having to create a campaign apparatus from square one, he has the GOP party machine behind him.