Rick Scott Goes on the Attack and Builds his Defenses for 2014

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: September 4, 2013 3:55 AM

Rick Scott

Credit: Gage Skidmore - Flickr

When Rick Scott talked to conservative activists at an Americans for Prosperity event last week, he signaled some of the themes he will highlight as he runs in what is expected to be a tough re-election campaign next year.

Scott’s an underdog as the fall opens, but he has been slowly gaining ground in the polls as the economy recovers. Based on his speech Friday, Scott and his team are more than aware of this. He went out of his way to highlight Florida’s recovery.

The governor also showed no hesitation in reflecting Florida’s economy under Charlie Crist in a negative light. He slammed Crist, who had been a Republican for most of his career before leaving the Republicans in 2010 and then joining the Democrats last year, for leaving Florida in debt. He also bashed Crist for relying on federal stimulus monies to manage the state finances.

Scott played up his administration’s achievements of holding the line on taxes while cutting spending. He also showcased how his administration has changed rules for Floridians seeking welfare, from requiring drug tests to demanding proof that the unemployed were actively looking for new jobs.

Turning to the future, he called for the Legislature to cut taxes next year while noting the state is making record investments in education. With only 14 months until the general election, he is looking to defend himself from charges that he is gutting schools

Scott also played up his personal side. During his speech last week, he offered a little bit of biographical information and started the speech with news about his grandchildren.

It’s an interesting tactic and one that worked for Scott before. Playing up his personal side helped him back in 2010 when the campaign spotlight turned toward his mother who went out of her way to defend him and insist he was a “good boy.”

Polls find Scott is not personally popular and he’s clearly at a disadvantage here compared to the often charming Crist. Scott tried to play up his personal side before, such as performing a work day making doughuts as he did when he was in high school. While Scott might not be doing work days any more, he hasn’t abandoned trying to offer Floridians a look at his life.

The governor is starting early and he probably has to if he wants to turn his numbers around. He’s developing his attacks against Crist and looking to shore up his defenses. Look for Scott to continue with these themes throughout the fall as he tries to narrow the gap before 2014 begins and Charlie Crist slips back into the limelight with a book tour and the start of his latest campaign.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.


Comments (6)

8:42PM SEP 4TH 2013
"Polls find Scott is not personally popular..." To offset that, I have already recommended Tim Tebow for Lt. Governor. If Tebow isn't available, then -- Gloria Estefan. Neither of them are politicians, but it isn't written anywhere that you need to be a politician to be Lt. Governor of Florida. What's that? You want a politician, you say? Ok, then -- Allen West.
its all smoke and mirrors
4:45PM SEP 4TH 2013
This is be the Dick Snott vs CharLIE Crist SHOW! Its all total bovime droppings!

The Clint Curtis vote fixer chips in the possession of Jeb Bush will decide the winner. Which ever way the Barreling Bushes go they will still own the Florida Governor.

Rich Scott former Dallas Bush Oil Lawyer and partner in The Texas Rangers withe George W. Bush. How you think he stayed out of the Fed Pen for Medicare Fraud? He split the profit with the bushwhackers!

CharLIE Crist graduate of Melvin Sembler's how to enjoy your love life twice as much and make believe you are Straight Club.
Karl Dickey
2:38PM SEP 4TH 2013
Good article Jeff, however I find it a bit odd you're writing about Crist when he hasn't even filed while leaving out the 20 other candidates you have actually filed. Especially concerning Adrian Wyllie, Scott's main opponent of those who have filed.
1:12PM SEP 4TH 2013
"He also bashed Crist for relying on federal stimulus monies to manage the state finances."

Yet he continues to give tax breaks to undeserving businesses. Hippocrite. Shouldn't they also be not relying on taxpayer's money?! Speaks volumes that he is in defensive mode.
9:29AM SEP 4TH 2013
I could give A rats ass about his spoiled rich little grand children
5:21AM SEP 4TH 2013
that article proves scott has nothing to run on.

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