2018 Senate race

Rick Scott to docs: Get involved. Somebody’s going to win the next election.

Addressing the Florida Medical Association last week, Gov. Rick Scott encouraged doctors to “get involved in the political process” because “somebody is actually going to win” the next election.

Scott, who’s leaving office next year due to term limits, noted that the legislative session that kicks off in January will be his last.

“I’ve got about 458, 459 days to go,” he told a group of doctors attending a day-long opioid summit in Tampa on Friday.

“I don’t say that because I don’t like the job. This is a great job. And there’s a lot of people trying to get it,” he joked, before giving the docs some advice.

“I would recommend that everybody get involved in the political process, because somebody is actually going to win. And it’s better that you’re involved in the process and you understand what they think and how they’re going to govern and you participate in it,” Scott told the physicians at the event hosted by the FMA.

The influential doctors’ group has a lot of clout in the Capitol, with a cadre of top-shelf lobbyists and a reputation for being able to kill legislation it views as unfriendly. The FMA’s PAC has contributed over $4 million to candidates and committees over the past six years, and that doesn’t include separate contributions made individually by doctors or their practices.

Scott, who’s mulling a run for the U.S. Senate next year, then went on to make a pitch for the job he’s done since he took office in 2011.

“If you like to try to have a positive impact on people’s lives, I don’t think there’s a better job than being governor of a state like Florida,” he said. We’ve been able to, because of people like you, we’ve added over 1.4 million jobs. We’ve paid off 25 percent of the state debt. I’ve cut 5,000 regulations. We have about 20,000 new jobs a month. We have about 350,000 people moving here a year. One hundred thousand of those people are moving from another country. We’re the best melting pot around. We’re at a 46-year low in our crime rate. So this state is absolutely on a roll. There is no place like Florida right now.”

Then he veered back to encouraging the docs to get involved.

“It’s really important that you guys are politically active because somebody will win the next election. If you’re not active, it might be somebody that you disagree (with), so I’d do everything you can to get the person that you believe in is going to do the right things for this state elected,” he said.

Scott on DACA: “I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents”

President Donald Trump is expected to reveal whether he will end DACA, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program launched by President Barack Obama, on Tuesday.

The program allows undocumented individuals who entered the country before their 16th birthday to remain in the U.S. for two years.

Trump campaigned on a hard-line anti-immigration stance, but it’s unclear whether he plans to scrap the program or amend it.

In a statement released Friday evening, Gov. Rick Scott said that Obama was “wrong to address the Dreamers issue by Executive Order.”

But, the governor added, “I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents.

Scott is considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year, in a state where Hispanic voters can make or break elections.

Here’s Scott’s full statement:

“President Obama was wrong to address the Dreamers issue by Executive Order. He should have done it in conjunction with Congress, which is how we make laws in our democracy. But this issue must be addressed. I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents.

These kids must be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and Congress must act on this immediately. I am encouraged by the approach Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Senator Thom Tillis are working on to address this problem.

I want to be very clear: I oppose illegal immigration, and everything else that is illegal. We must secure our borders and the federal government is irresponsible in not doing so. Every single bit of immigration policy becomes much simpler once we secure our borders and put an end to illegal immigration. We must also not allow so-called sanctuary cities to defy our nation’s laws and we must vigorously vet every potential immigrant. Failing to do that is irresponsible.”

Nelson-Scott in the crystal ball

Florida’s 2018 U.S. Senate contest still leans towards the Democratic incumbent, but that could change depending upon when — not if — Gov. Rick Scott jumps into the race, according to seers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Here’s the latest summary of the contest from the school’s weekly online political newsletter called Sabato’s Crystal Ball released Thursday:

Even though Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is a proven vote-getter, Democrats are deeply worried about the likely candidacy of outgoing Gov. Rick Scott (R). There are two ways of looking at the potential Nelson-Scott matchup.

The first is that while Nelson has won his last two races by convincing margins, Scott barely squeaked by in his two victories in 2010 and 2014, failing to win a majority of the vote either time in what were optimal Republican years and despite dramatically outspending his rivals thanks to his immense personal wealth.

That’s the pro-Nelson view.

The pro-Scott view is that his personal largesse, combined with that of pro-Republican outside groups, could overwhelm the combined Democratic effort, and that Scott is arguably more appealing now than he was in 2010 and 2014 (Morning Consult pegged his approval recently at a decent 52%) and a more formidable Nelson opponent than the incumbent’s weaker challengers in 2006 and 2012.

Nelson is favored for now but this could be a Toss-up in the future.

One danger for Republicans is that if Scott decides to not get in, they may be without a backup plan, although the GOP bench in the state is strong. And it seems like the main question for Scott is not if he runs, but when he announces.

By Jim Turner

Scott gleeful about Georgia election as referendum on fellow Florida-man Trump

All of those who are completely over the Georgia special election can stop reading here.

But for the rest of us, here’s what Florida Gov. Rick Scott had to say about the face-off that was viewed by many to be a referendum on Scott’s pal, President Donald Trump.

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Appearing on FOX Business show Varney & Co. Wednesday, Scott echoed those hyping Republican Karen Handel’s victory in the most expensive congressional race in history.

Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com

Handel’s 6th Congressional District win was a victory for Trump, Scott crowed.

“It shows you that it doesn’t matter how much money you have. If you have a bad message, you lose,” Scott, who spent at least $70 million of his own money in his 2010 gubernatorial bid, said.

 Trump’s message of “jobs and repealing and replacing Obamacare” — themes the Florida governor, mulling a run for the U.S. Senate next year, has hammered on — resonated with voters, Scott indicated.

Scott also tried to slip this week’s job-poaching trip to Connecticut into the conversation focused on national politics. And he also addressed the New Republic super-PAC, which he chairs, that seeks to rebrand the Republican Party in Trump’s image.

 “If you look at what we should be talking about, we ought to talk how Americans talk,” Scott said. “They’re not talking about liberal vs. conservative. They’re talking about, ‘I want an open government. I want choices. I want choices in my education. I want choices in my health care.’ That’s how Trump talked.”

 New Republican’s focus is on cutting regulations, targeting young voters and winning Hispanic voters.

Referring to the latter, Scott told FOX that Cubans in South Florida are “all on board” with the president’s Cuban policy introduced Friday in Miami. The new policy aims to reverse many of the actions of former President Barack Obama designed to open up thaw relations with the island country.

“The Cuban people know that you can’t help the Castro regime,” Scott said Wednesday. “It doesn’t work. There is nothing that Obama did that helped give freedom, democracy.”