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  1. Florida Politics

The Buzz: Scott's rich, but another governor is worth much more

Published Jul. 5, 2015

The big surge in Gov. Rick Scott's personal wealth in the past year raises a question: Is Florida's governor the richest governor in the country?

The short answer is no, not by a long shot, but he's way up there. Scott's net worth is $147 million. He got rich running the Columbia/HCA hospital chain, left the firm in 1997, became an investor and has successfully nurtured an extensive portfolio.

The financial disclosure statement he filed with the state last week shows his net worth grew by $14 million over the past year but is still well below the $217 million he reported when he filed to run for governor in June 2010. Scott has not yet made up the $73 million he spent in that campaign.

By comparison, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee reports a net worth of $2 billion. He's the son of the founder of the nationwide chain of truck stops known as Pilot Flying J, based in Knoxville, Tenn. Care to fill 'er up, Mac? The Pilot logo is ubiquitous: There are 11 Pilot travel centers within a 100-mile radius of Tampa alone.

A number of former governors are a lot wealthier than Scott, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger of California ($300 million in 2014), Jon Corzine of New Jersey ($300 million in 2013) and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts (at least $190 million in 2012).

Former New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller had a net worth of $62 million in 1974, which in present-day dollars would be worth about $303 million. Net worth numbers fluctuate from year to year, and states have different reporting requirements.

On the website cheatsheet.com, based on public records and news reports, Scott is rated as the eighth-richest officeholder in the U.S. Behind Haslam, Rep. Darrell Issa of California ranks second, followed by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Secretary of State John Kerry, whose wife, Theresa, is heiress to the Heinz ketchup fortune. It's all relative.

The bottom line is that Scott makes more money in a month than most Floridians will make in a lifetime. Isn't that rich?

No holiday for RNC

National Republicans spent a July Fourth "day of action" holding events across Florida, including voter registration at a NASCAR event in Daytona Beach. Other Republican National Committee events included organizing volunteers and registration drives at house parties in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and the Panhandle.

From the RNC: "Voter registration is a new initiative for the RNC, and this is the earliest we've activated our ground game in several cycles. We are able to do this because the staff we placed on the ground during the 2014 cycle never left, and they have been maintaining relationships in the community and building our volunteer base.

"Two thirds of the volunteers participating this weekend are first-time RNC volunteers. Not only does this show the enthusiasm among Republicans, but it is also the earliest we've mobilized our volunteer network. We've been holding one-on-one meetings to train and recruit Neighborhood Teams since April. I can't overstate the positive impact of face-to-face interaction, and the personal attention our staff is giving to each and every volunteer."

Grayson plea welcome

Alan Grayson raised $110,000 in 24 hours off an email asking people if he should run for Senate, according to an aide.

"You are a supporter. That's why I send you these notes. Now, I need to ask you an important question," he wrote in a message on Wednesday.

"Should I run for the U.S. Senate? I've been thinking about this decision for a long time. If I do decide to try to join Elizabeth Warren and other good Progressive Democrats in the Senate, I need to know that I have your support. If you think that I should run, please let me know, by contributing $20, $50, $100, $250 or even $500 today."

Most observers expect he'll run, with announcement likely after the holiday weekend.

Clinton's strong cause

Hillary Clinton will address the National Urban League Conference in Fort Lauderdale on July 31.

"Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has fought to strengthen African-American families and communities," her campaign said in a release.

Clinton has moved to address concerns of African-Americans, using the first major speech of the campaign to discuss the situation in Baltimore and to call for criminal justice reform.

She also addressed the church slayings in Charleston, S.C., urging "that in addition to the renewed conversation about the Confederate flag, we must confront deeper, substantive issues around the racial divide that persists in America," the campaign said.

Clinton raised funds in Florida in May. However, she did not hold a public event or meet with reporters.

Times researcher Caryn Baird and Times staff writers Jeremy Wallace and Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.