A once-unlikely political pairing between two of the bitterest enemies in Florida politics has seemingly come to an end.
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, embarked on a five-city “Fighting for Florida’s Future Victory Tour” to tout their mutual accomplishments as the Florida Legislature finally wound down during a special session last week.
Instead of releasing ads attacking one another over the state’s economic incentive and tourism agencies, the two embraced in handshakes, apparently forgetting the bitter battle which divided them since the beginning of this year.
Corcoran and Scott kicked off the tour in Miami and made several stops throughout the state to highlight Florida’s “big wins” this year.
“We have a lot of things to brag about this session,” Scott said in West Palm Beach. “The House and Senate all supported the priorities that all of us that are worried about the future of our state care about.”
Among the successes Scott ticked off on his list: $85 million for job and infrastructure training, $76 million for the state tourism agency, Visit Florida, a $215 million surge in education funding and an extra $50 million to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike near Lake Okeechobee.
Corcoran insisted the point of the tour was to tout lawmakers’ accomplishments for the betterment of the Sunshine State.
"The message is that we're on the same page in fighting for jobs and fighting for a world-class education," Corcoran said Monday.
The House Speaker didn’t waste any time lapping the praise on the governor, though, referring to him as possibly the “No. 1 governor” in the nation for vetoing “pork-barrel spending.”
“All these things we just talked about — funding kids at the highest level, protecting our tourist market, protecting our job market, helping protect our environment and keeping our people safe — all of that was paid for in large part by vetoes of pork-barrel spending,” Corcoran said.
The victory tour comes after a contentious few months between the governor and Corcoran, who was, until recently, ready to ax Scott’s twin pride and joy, Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
Corcoran’s hardline approach didn’t end up lasting too long, however, after the very real possibility arose that Scott could veto the House’s massive education bill, HB 7069, a top priority for Corcoran during this year’s legislative session.
The implication was largely that the two had struck a deal over the education bill, with Scott promising to sign it into law if Corcoran agreed to fully fund Visit Florida during a three-day special session held last week.
The new alliance could prove fruitful for the two politicians -- Scott is widely rumored to be considering a bid for the U.S. Senate next year and Corcoran is speculated to be seeking Scott's job in the governor's mansion in 2018.