Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott eyeing run for U.S. Senate — in 2018

You might have seen Gov. Rick Scott recently talking to you in a TV ad — "We are expanding our industries, investing in our ports, making a record commitment to you, devoting more resources to education'' — and wondered if he's running for office again.

That's the plan, but not right away.

Scott, 62, has told several top Republican fundraisers that he's interested in running for U.S. Senate. It would be in 2018, when Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson's third term ends, rather than in 2016, when a potentially open U.S. Senate seat is enticing plenty of politicians and Scott will still be in the middle of his second term.

The governor brushed off talk of his political future Wednesday.

"I'm going to keep working on being governor," he said. "I just got re-elected. We're going to have a good four years. It's exciting."

As uncomfortable as the CEO-turned-governor often seems in the political world, the U.S. Senate makes sense given that Scott initially seemed far more interested in federal issues than in Florida issues.

The former hospital chain executive started raising his political profile in 2009 by funding a political committee against the Affordable Care Act. By the time he turned his attention to running for office in Florida in 2010, Marco Rubio was well on his way to grabbing the Republican U.S. Senate nomination by moving to the right of then-Gov. Charlie Crist. Winning the Republican gubernatorial nomination against then-frontrunner Bill McCollum looked much more viable for Scott.

Running in a nonpresidential campaign year with lower Democratic turnout also makes more sense for Scott. He barely won his two gubernatorial races despite a GOP turnout advantage in both midterm election cycles and dramatically outspending his opponents, Alex Sink in 2010 and Crist in 2014.

Scott's political team had been worried about Sen. Nelson jumping into last year's governor's race, but it's no sure thing Nelson will seek a fourth term. Florida's senior senator has started raising money for his re-election. He will be 76 in 2018.

Rubio is looking seriously at running for president in 2016 and has said that if he does, he would rule out running for a second Senate term if his presidential campaign failed to gain traction. Republicans widely expected to run for Rubio's seat include Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater of West Palm Beach and Scott's lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Democratic contenders in 2016 include U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter and Alan Grayson of Orlando.

Times/Herald staff writer Kathleen McGrory contributed to this report.

Comments
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18