On Monday, Rick Scott, Florida’s Republican Governor is expected to announce he’s running for the U.S. Senate, challenging Democrat Bill Nelson in a race expected to be among the most competitive contests to decide which party controls Congress.
Scott scheduled a 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) announcement where he is expected to kick off his campaign, on his Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page, against Nelson first elected in 2000 and currently the only Democrat holding statewide office in Florida.
The move has been widely expected, which Scott noted in an interview with Politico on Sunday. Scott told Politico that they probably may be surprised, but he is going to announce that he is running for senator. Questioning if they are shocked.
As enough of a threat that the party has scheduled press conferences with elected Democrats around the state later in the day to make a case against electing Scott to the Senate, State Democrats regarded the wealthy governor, who is barred by law from running for a third term.
Republicans have for years controlled the state government, and Trump won Florida in 2016 with Scott’s support. In states won by Trump, Nelson is one of 10 Democratic senators up for re-election this year. Every competitive Senate race matters since Republicans hold a one-vote majority in the chamber, while he is not seen as the most vulnerable incumbent.
Scott entered politics from the business world, like Trump did, having amassed a personal fortune as a healthcare executive. He dipped into his wealth to help finance his campaigns, winning the governorship in 2010 and 2014 by about one percent of the vote.
For decades, Nelson has been a fixture in Florida politics. He rose from the state legislature to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and has held state cabinet posts. Nelson earned 55 percent of the vote, in his last election in 2012, outperforming former Democratic President Barack Obama in Florida.
Democrats in the state often struggle with participation in midterm elections, but polls and recent special elections suggest that opposition to Trump this year is galvanizing the party’s base.
Between Nelson and Scott, a competitive match-up is showed by early polling, whose national profile rose in the gun control debate that followed the shooting deaths of 17 people in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
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