As Charlie Crist Readies to Launch '14 Bid, Rick Scott Is in No Hurry

By: Brandon Larrabee News Service of Florida | Posted: October 30, 2013 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist and Rick Scott

Charlie Crist and Rick Scott

As former Gov. Charlie Crist gears up for a Monday announcement that will almost certainly kick off a campaign to regain his old job, all but forgotten is that the man who currently holds the position hasn't officially announced his re-election effort.

To be sure, Gov. Rick Scott has left little doubt that he is making a bid for a second term, even if one ignores the recalibrations on policy and politics over the past few months -- which critics deride as an effort to make nice with voters.

"Unless my wife tells me she's dumping me, I'm running for a second term," Scott told Bay News 9's "Political Connections" show back in 2011.

And Let's Get to Work, a fundraising arm of Scott's 2010 campaign, has already raised $13 million this year in preparation for what could be one of the most expensive runs in state history. That does away with some of the urgency of setting up the formal fundraising account that will back Scott's re-election effort.

But Scott has not held a campaign kickoff event, has not formally filed for the office and has yet to select a lieutenant governor, who will serve as his running mate in the 2014 campaign. His first lieutenant governor, former state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, resigned in March.

"There's just no rush," said Susie Wiles, who was Scott's campaign manager in 2010. "He is busy being governor and doing the things he said he would do when he was elected the first time."

The main reason for making an early announcement, to build name identification with voters through the media and campaign ads, doesn't exist for Scott, who is traveling around the state as governor.

Republican strategist Rick Wilson agreed there's no hurry for a formal event -- if one even comes at all.

"I don't think there's a hard requirement that Rick Scott goes out and does a banners-and-bunting announcement," Wilson said.

Crist, according to Wilson, is in a different position. The former Republican and former independent still needs to reintroduce himself to Democrats, and will be hit by the GOP over job losses while Crist was governor. Scott and his supporters have already begun arguing that the current governor is bringing those jobs back.

"He doesn't have to chase Charlie Crist," Wilson said of Scott. "Charlie Crist has to chase him."

Wiles and Sen. John Thrasher, who chaired the Republican Party of Florida during Scott's 2010 run, both said Scott will likely do something to make his re-election bid official. But Thrasher also said it will likely come later.

"Timing for announcing all that is not, I don't think, all that important," Thrasher said.

Rumors are already running rampant that Scott will announce a lieutenant governor selection -- perhaps Thrasher -- as soon as Friday. Scott's office did not respond Tuesday afternoon to questions about whether he would announce a lieutenant governor selection soon or when he planned to announce for re-election.

Wilson said the impact of any lieutenant governor selection on the voting in 2014 would be minor.

"Honestly, it's a no-harm, no-foul thing," he said.

Thrasher has consistently pushed aside rumors that he will be considered for the position, a stance he reiterated Tuesday. Thrasher said he hasn't talked to anyone in the governor's office about taking the job, and that the last time he saw Scott's chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth, who is running the search, was during a committee week lawmakers held earlier this month.

"I don't know where it's coming from," he said.

Tags: News, Politics

Comments (3)

Mike Olesko
10:27PM OCT 30TH 2013
Finding supporters for Charlie Crist won't be hard. I'm a teacher in South Florida and a lot of us do not like Rick Scott and what he has and hasn't done for education. Many of us told Scott his choice for Education Commissioner of Tony Bennett was a mistake. He had to find out the hard way after Bennett resigned. Now after spending thousands of dollars and a lot of man hours Scott has pulled Florida out of Common Core. We told him it was a mistake in the beginning, but he didn't listen. We don't need Washington dictating to Florida what our kids should learn. Jennifer Carroll was a horrible choice for Lt. Governor but again Scott had to learn the hard way. Scott stopped the high speed rail project that would have brought jobs to Central Florida but he didn't listen. He helped get his buddies lucrative outsourced prison contracts. Did we forget the corruption? Have we forgotten the attempt to dilute the vote of minorities in the last election? And Scotts people are making plans to do it again. In Charlie Crist we have a centrist politician who has a better view of both sides of an argument. We can't wait for this election. Scott needs to go.
8:46PM OCT 30TH 2013
Thrasher ? perfect match for the corruption that surrounds tricky ricky already.
Independent Thinker
5:48AM OCT 30TH 2013
Yes, get ready for Rick Scott to blame Charlie Crist for the loss of jobs in Florida due to a NATIONAL economic downturn that Crist had nothing to do with and no power to stop, and get ready for Scott to take credit for lowering an unemployment rate that is down in good measure because so many Floridians have given up looking for a job they can't find in Scott's new economy -- where many poached jobs from other states come here already filled, and the new unemployment website works about as well as healthcare.gov does.

Florida's long term unemployed know better. They know Scott's promises are empty, as is his "I brought jobs" rhetoric.

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