Scott Dominates Airwaves In Florida Senate Race

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) “is off to an early and expensive start in advertising his U.S. Senate bid, spending more than $1 million a week on TV spots for a race that could determine whether the GOP keeps control of the chamber,” Bloomberg reports.

“His Democratic opponent, incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, has yet to run a commercial in what’s likely to be the most expensive congressional race in the country.”

“Scott, who can dip into his personal fortune, has also gotten help from outside groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that have brought total TV spending on his behalf to $8.7 million in the past five weeks.”

Can Democrats Keep Up In Florida’s Senate Race?

First Read: “Across the 2018 Senate landscape, the vulnerable red-state Senate Democrats are either outspending their GOP challengers over the TV and radio airwaves, or they’re keeping the disparity as close as possible. (That’s where it helps to be an incumbent, right?)”

“But there’s one huge exception — Florida, where Republican Rick Scott and the GOP are outspending Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and the Democrats by nearly a 50-to-1 margin, $8.8 million to $185,000, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics.”

“Scott’s personal wealth was always going to be a wild card for Republicans to play in this rough political environment for the GOP. It forces Democrats and Dem outside groups to spend heavily to keep Nelson competitive — it costs at least $2 million to $3 million PER WEEK to advertise statewide in Florida — which comes at the expense of other Democratic campaigns. That’s a significant advantage for Republicans, especially when so many Democrats (incumbents or challengers) are outraising Republicans in hard dollars.”

Florida Insiders Give Advantage to Scott In Senate Race

Tampa Bay Times: “Even amid all the talk of the Democratic political wave this year, Florida’s political elites are growing skeptical about Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D) prospects for fending off Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) challenge.”

“Among more than 200 experts and veterans of Florida politics surveyed in the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll, nearly six in 10 this week said they expect Scott to unseat the three-term Democratic Senator.  Just over two months ago, more than 57% of the Florida Insiders surveyed expected Nelson to win.”

Scott Edges Nelson In Florida

A new Florida Atlantic University poll shows Gov. Rick Scott (R) leading Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 40%, a 6 point swing in Scott’s direction since February.

Among those polled who said they are “very likely” to vote, Scott and Nelson are dead even with 45% support.

This is key: “Democrats hope to beat Gov. Scott by linking him to President Trump, but the poll shows Trump with his highest Florida approval rating in Florida since taking office, 43%. His disapproval rate is 45%.”

Scott Posts Huge Fundraising Haul

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) Senate campaign says it raised $3.2 million in the three weeks since announcing his bid, a major show of fundraising force in his bid against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), The Hill reports.

“The figure represents as much as Nelson raised during the first three months of 2018. The news is meant as a warning shot to Democrats about how quickly Scott can raise money — even before putting his personal wealth into the campaign.”

Florida Senate Race Is a Toss Up

Cook Political Report: “In one of the most anticipated announcements of the cycle, Republican Gov. Rick Scott confirmed today that he will challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November. Scott’s decision puts the contest into the Toss Up column.”

“Very few candidates could wait until 211 days before an election to announce a statewide campaign. Scott is one of them. With 10 media markets and 27 congressional districts, any candidate with statewide aspirations needs two things to be competitive: name identification and money. Scott has both and thus could afford to wait as long as he has. The late announcement also allowed him to work through the last regular legislative session of his administration.”

First Read: “Make no mistake: 2018 is shaping up to be a rough year for the GOP, and Scott’s previous statewide wins (in 2010 and 2014) all came in good Republican years. But today’s news is a helpful shot in the arm for the GOP.”

Scott Announces His Senate Bid

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) “makes his long-awaited Senate candidacy official Monday, setting up an epic battle against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and testing the limits of whether a close alliance with President Trump is political poison or a pathway to success in the nation’s biggest swing state,” Politico reports.

“Scott has never shied away from his friendship with Trump — who has repeatedly urged him to run against Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat. And regardless of the constant string of White House controversies, Scott has only distanced himself from the president to the mildest of degrees.”

Scott Leaning Towards a Senate Bid In Florida

“Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), in conversations with major Republican donors over the past week, has signaled that he is moving closer to challenging Sen. Bill Nelson and has mapped out financial and political plans that could guide his potential bid,” the Washington Post reports.

“Scott’s study of the race’s dynamics and his confidence that the veteran Democrat is vulnerable has led those donors to conclude that the governor is now leaning toward running, the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss private exchanges.”

Said one donor: “He thinks Nelson isn’t ready for the velocity of a 2018 campaign.”

Scott Moves Towards Senate Bid In Florida

Politico: “In the clearest sign he’s ready to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has raised more than $1.1 million for a super PAC he recently revived and stocked it with top consultants from his previous campaigns. Privately, he’s talked up his good polling numbers, according to several supporters who have spoken to Scott recently.”

“A Scott bid would complicate Democratic hopes of winning back the Senate next year — of the 10 Democrats up for reelection in states carried by President Donald Trump, Nelson has been considered one of the most vulnerable.”

Rick Scott Still Not Sold on Senate Bid

New York Times: “And if other potential Republican Senate recruits are daunted by the forbidding political environment, it could hamper their ability to win some of the Democratic-controlled seats they have been eyeing for months. In Florida, for example, advisers to Gov. Rick Scott (R) said he was mindful of the midterm climate and was not yet sold on challenging Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).”

Florida Senate Race Shaping Up as Epic Battle

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) went to Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this summer with an urgent plea, Politico reports.

“Florida’s Democratic Party was in disarray after the 2016 presidential debacle, the senator said, and he needed help from D.C. to prepare for a likely challenge next year by GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who’s spent at least $86 million of his own fortune on his two gubernatorial campaigns.”

“Nelson told the group that Democrats desperately needed to catch up on field staff in Florida, especially in the wake of the presidential and Senate race results last year that saw Republican-leaning voters flood the polls and took even plugged-in Democrats by surprise.”