April 9 (UPI) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday officially announced he will challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for his seat in the Senate.
In an 85-second Facebook video, the Republican governor stressed his upbringing and anti-Washington credentials. Scott’s entrance into the race sets up a showdown for a seat held by Democrats for nearly 20 years, and could have an impact on majority control in the upper chamber.
Scott also promoted his candidacy with a focus on jobs, terms limits for legislators and an end to what he called Washington’s “dysfunctional, old, tired thinking.”
“What I focused on when I got elected [governor] was getting 700,000 jobs over seven years and changing the direction of the state,” he told Politico Sunday. “And the business community has really shown up. We cut their taxes, reduced regulation and we’ve added right about 1.5 million jobs.”
Scott has been a supporter of President Donald Trump, who has urged Scott to run for the Senate seat. In the Politico interview, Scott objected to being regarded as a Trump Republican.
“I consider myself Rick Scott. I don’t consider myself any type of anything,” he said.
While it’s likely Trump will endorse Scott’s campaign, support from the president has not helped recent congressional candidates in Alabama, Virginia or Pennsylvania. The incumbent Nelson, though, is regarded by Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report, and other observers, as among the most vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election.
Nelson, a former astronaut, has represented Florida in the Senate since 2001.