Trump Wants Florida’s ‘Jobs Governor’ To Run For Senate

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a press conference about the Zika virus in Doral, Florida, U.S. August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Joe SkipperFlorida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a press conference about the Zika virus in Doral, Florida, U.S. August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

President Donald Trump wants Florida Gov. Rick Scott to run for Sen. Bill Nelson’s seat in Florida, according to a Tuesday morning report from Politico.

Scott served in the U.S. Navy, and went on to co-found a network of urgent care centers in Florida in 2001. Scott also served as the head of the Columbia Hospital Corporation, where he was responsible for the operations of 340 hospitals nationwide. Scott continues to label himself the “jobs governor” in interviews and debates, and inevitably brings the discussion back to his jobs platform during questioning from the press.

“We need you in the Senate. We need business guys like you,” Trump reportedly told Scott in a phone call, according to a source Scott briefed on the call. Even without Trump’s advice, Scott was already reportedly prepared to run against Nelson in the 2018 Senate race.

“Whoever it is, I run my race like there’s no tomorrow,” Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times in November about a potential challenge from Scott. The race should prove to be an epic battle fueled by huge sums of money. The 2016 Senate race between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy was incredibly expensive; Rubio alone raised $25.6 million and spent nearly all of it.

Nelson spent just over $16 million in the 2012 Senate race — close to the $16.9 million Scott spent on his statewide race for re-election.

Scott mirrors Trump in his ability to self-fund campaigns. The current governor reportedly spent over $90 million of his own money between his two gubernatorial bids.

Nelson initially approached Trump’s election with caution, adding in November he was “encouraged” by several Trump interviews. “I thought that he exhibited a practicality and a willingness to be much more measured,” Nelson told The Tampa Bay Times in November. He chose to oppose the Trump administration’s handling of the travel ban executive order in a letter sent to Trump Friday afternoon.

“Defeating the diabolical threat of terrorism is imperative to our national security,” Nelson wrote. “Whether intended or not, this Executive Order risks alienating the very people we rely upon in the fight against terror.

“While we must do everything in our power to protect the United States, I am concerned this Executive Order will only undermine our counterterrorism efforts. I urge you to develop policy that keeps America safe, builds trust with our partners, and demonstrates compassion to those who need our help.”

Nelson currently serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, as well as the committees on Aging, Commerce, and Finance.

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