Gov. Rick Scott has never received 50 percent of the vote in Florida. He spent most of his first term with approval ratings that would make Enron executives blush with shame. His personal narrative includes a detour into the largest Medicare fraud penalty in American history.
This is a man who, someday, wants to run for president.
The news that Florida's governor has White House ambitions comes via Marc Caputo's thorough breakdown this morning of all the Sunshine State politicos whose fortunes depend upon Sen. Marco Rubio's plans to seek higher office.
Rubio, of course, is considered an actual contender for the presidency, though polls show him trailing well behind fellow Miamian Jeb Bush. If he does throw his hat into the ring, a busload of well-financed, seasoned local GOP candidates is ready to compete for his Senate seat, including CFO Jeff Atwater and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
Scott, though, presents the most intriguing figure of all. He's a hugely divisive, charisma-free governor with a sketchy past, all of which might be overcome by his biggest asset: a vast personal fortune, which in American politics can fix just about any candidate's problems.
The governor actually makes a lot of sense as a potential senatorial candidate, possibly to challenge longtime incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott could pour huge amounts of his cash into a federal race with tight controls on outside donations.
But president? So far the most prominent GOP official to raise the idea has been Joe Gruters, a county official in Sarasota whose boosterism earned some chuckles.
Scott himself, though, may not be laughing at the concept. According to Caputo, "insiders" say the governor in fact covets the White House.
It's hard to believe even Scott's massive wealth would be enough to propel him through a GOP primary given his myriad problems as a candidate.
But if his two runs to the governor's mansion have taught Florida voters anything, it's that -- given a little gumption and a ton of cash -- even a scandal-tainted corporate tycoon who looks like Voldemort can win high office in this great land of ours.
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