Rick Scott has had a tough year, but he’s still a favorite for re-election

Republicans lost the Senate under U.S. Senator Rick Scott, whose 2022 plan includes a widely criticized plan to tax every American and is destined to become the Senate minority leader. But in 2024, none of that may matter.

Scott, 70, has never won an election by more than a percentage point or so. But a combination of incumbency, GOP strength and deep pockets still made him the clear favorite for re-election that year.That is That’s despite talk of a Republican primary challenge and a possible Senate run for outgoing Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

“It’s kind of a national political issue,” Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, said of Scott’s latest issue. “…for his reelection in Florida, he might be vulnerable. But I don’t think he’s as vulnerable as people think.”

When Scott Legal heir to former President Trump.

“He clearly has presidential ambitions,” said University of Miami political science professor Gregory Coger. “But I think that’s less likely than it was two years ago.”

Instead, Scott generated several unflattering headlines.

his initials “11 o’clock plan” Calling on the more than half of Americans who don’t pay income tax, mostly the poor and retirees, to start paying income tax because they need to “get involved.” That was almost immediately denied by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Scott did not comment for this story.

But Scott’s Senate press secretary, Claire Latanzer, cited his column for the washington examiner He wrote there that he “proposed an idea plan and I don’t regret it at all. … If you dare to cross the line and suggest that we give people something to vote for, they will attack you, and they will fight with the Democrats. Collaborate to distort your words, discredit you and tell you to keep quiet.”

Tom Cotton of Arkansas, left, campaigns alongside Rick Scott of Florida and U.S. Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Carrollton, Ga., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022.

In November, his forecast as head of the Republican Senate campaign The committee believes that the party may “Get 53, 54, 55” Seats The results were tied as Republicans fell to 49 seats and Democrats kept the House.

mcconnell accused “Candidate Qualities” For many defeats, including Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz, Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Nevada’s 2020 denier Adam Laxalter.

“Donald Trump is mostly to blame for the GOP’s loss in 2022, but Rick Scott is also partly to blame,” Coger said. “Working with Donald Trump to steer the nomination toward a less powerful candidate due to low levels of funding and presenting a policy agenda that is very dangerous for a Republican candidate.”

When asked about the election results, Lattanze cited Scott’s Letter to His Republican Colleagues.

“Despite what armchair quarterbacks on TV will tell you, no one is held accountable for our party’s performance across the country,” Scott wrote. will be one of them.”

scott’s year begins with Bid for McConnell job fails, received just 10 votes in a closed-door Republican meeting. His colleague in Florida, Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, has yet to say publicly who he voted for.

Scott is annoyed enough in the party Hill reports Some Republican operatives have floated the idea of ​​a primary Senate challenge, with one suggesting U.S. Rep. Byron Reynolds, R-Naples.

But experts say they don’t expect that to happen.

“He’s more likely to decide to retire than to be defeated in a Republican primary,” Coger said. “I don’t think Trump has a lot of appeal [backer] Or start with a moderate in 2024. “

Jewett agrees that ideologically, it’s unclear where the challenger will come from.

“Who’s going to run against him in the Republican primary?” Jewett asked. “What’s their lane? Will he somehow not enough trump?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, shakes hands with former Gov. Rick Scott after being sworn in during an inauguration ceremony in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Republicans will begin their third decade of ruling the state's capitol.  (AP Photo/Lynn Slakey)

Matt Isbell, a Democratic election analyst who runs the MCIMaps website, said Scott has only one potential source of trouble in the primary: his successor Gov. Ron DeSantis. The transition with Scott in 2018-19 was not smooth. Since then, their relationship has been good.

“I think DeSantis could be someone who could channel the main threat,” Isbell said. “But if Ron is running for president in 2024, I’m not sure why he would really want to do that. I can see that being the case.” A megalomaniac thing, but it’s not a politically smart thing to do. … You run the risk of angering another Senator who might try to stab you in the back.

Had Scott worked out his problems within his own party, his path to re-election should have been much easier for him.

“He’s the incumbent,” Jewett said. “And we know that incumbents often have an advantage because of their popularity and ability to raise money.”

However, with Scott’s personal fortune between $166 million and $355 million, he doesn’t need to hunt around for cash like other candidates, According to Yahoo Finance.

“He has his own money, and he’s used it effectively every time he’s campaigned, putting millions of dollars into his campaign, tens of millions of dollars in his early campaigns,” said Jeweler. Special said.

Murphy, of Winter Park, is considered a potential challenger to Scott in 2024.she is at Interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel last month.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a member of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, arrives for a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 21, 2022.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balceseneta)

Murphy “could give him a run for his money,” Jewett punned. “I don’t think he’s in as much shape as DeSantis and Rubio, who each had double-digit wins in November.”

But any Democrat who opposes Scott faces an uphill battle, thanks to the GOP’s growing registration advantage, Isbell said.

“That’s the problem Democrats have in Florida in 2024,” Isbell said. “Even with equal voter turnout in both parties, the Republicans still have more votes. … And I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.”

Fundraising is also an issue, Isbell said, a gap that will only be widened by hiring multi-millionaires.

“If you want to run against Rick Scott, you’re counting on Joe Biden or any of the Democratic presidential candidates will invest in the state and run for the electoral vote in the state, and I don’t see that happening at all,” he said.

Murphy or any other Democratic candidate “will be on their own,” Isbell said. “They’re not going to be able to keep up with the pace of fundraising and they’re not going to be able to self-fund like Rick Scott, if he feels like he’s tight, he can write himself a check, no problem.”

Isbell said there may be at least one major difference from Scott’s past campaigns.Regardless, his streak extremely thin Margin of victory It should be over.

“I think he’ll eventually break the habit,” Isbell said.