The costliest and nastiest race for Florida governor is unlike any in the state's long and colorful history. Rick Scott is seeking to be the second Republican governor in state history (after Jeb Bush) to serve consecutive terms, and Democrat Charlie Crist is seeking to regain his old job, which he held before Scott as a Republican. Voters have been bombarded with TV ads in which Scott and Crist have attacked each other's character. Polls show a tight race which is likely to be decided by turnout in South Florida, where turnout lags behind the rest of the state in off-presidential election years. Also on the ballot are Adrian Wyllie of the Libertarian Party of Florida and two candidates with no party affiliation, Glenn Burkett and Farid Kharavi, neither of whom has mounted a visible campaign.
By Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
|Rick Scott, 61||Charlie Crist, 58||Adrian Wyllie, 44|
|Running mate||Carlos Lopez-Cantera||Annette Taddeo||Greg Roe|
|Experience||Governor, 2011-present; chief executive, Columbia/HCA Hospital Corp., 1989-1997; U.S. Navy, 1970-1972.||Governor, 2007-2011; Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, 2010; Florida attorney general, 2003-2007; education commissioner, 2001-2003; state senator, 1992-1998.||Campaign manager for Alexander Snitker, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, 2010; U.S. Army veteran.|
|Education||B.A., business administration, University of Missouri Kansas City, 1975; Southern Methodist University law school, 1978.||Florida State University, 1988; Cumberland (Ala.) School of Law, 1981.||Dunedin High School, 1988.|
|Accept federal money for Medicaid expansion?||Yes. "While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost, I cannot, in good conscience, deny Floridians that needed access to health care."||Yes. "We have a health care crisis in this state and it's been brought on by Rick Scott's lack of enthusiasm for expanding Medicaid. As a result of that lack of effort and that failure, frankly, about a million of our fellow Floridians are not going to get the health care that they deserve."||No. "I do not support the Affordable Care Act. If we make sensible cuts to Medicaid, we can provide the same benefits for less money ... Throwing more money into a failed system is not the answer."|
|Legalize medical use of marijuana?||No. "Having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse firsthand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path, and I would personally vote against it."|
SOURCES: Scott's campaign provided written responses but would not let the Times edit them for print; the Times reserves the right to edit responses. Scott's complete responses are at rickscottforflorida.com/tampa-bay-times-voter-guide-response/. His comments above are from past statements (Sources: Associated Press; WPTV; Times). Crist responses are from a Naples Daily News editorial board interview on Oct. 6, except for minimum wage question (2013 op-ed). Wyllie responses were provided by his campaign.
FOR FULL COVERAGE OF THE RACE: Go to TampaBay.com/Politics.
About the job: The governor is Florida's most powerful elected official, with broad executive power to declare emergencies, sign death warrants and appoint judges and hundreds of other high-level officials, including the heads of most state agencies. The governor is commander in chief of state military forces and has line-item veto power over spending by the Legislature. The annual salary is $130,273; Scott does not accept a salary.