U.S. Sen. Rick Scott makes it official: he’s running for reelection in 2024

The Naples Republican starts out his campaign in good shape with no immediate Democrat emerging to oppose him

By: - January 26, 2023 2:06 pm

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott at a meeting with voters in Tampa, FL. Jan. 10, 2023. Credit: Mitch Perry.

Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott announced Thursday that he will be running for reelection next year. That likely means he will not pursue a presidential candidacy in 2024.

“I’ve never lost an election, and I don’t intend to now,” Scott said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

“We’ve worked hard to turn Florida into a red state that elects Republicans up and down the ballot. But I never take anything for granted,” he added. “The people of Florida have elected me three times so far to fight for conservative values, stand up to Joe Biden and the radical, woke Democrats, and bring common-sense to Washington. We’re going to keep fighting to do the things the people of Florida elected me to do.”

His political tenure has spanned the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee to the U.S. Senate chambers in Washington, D.C.

Although it’s more than a year-and-a-half before he’ll appear on the ballot, the 70-year-old Naples resident appears at this early stage to be in a good position to win a second six-year term in office, considering that there doesn’t appear to be any Democrats who at this stage could emerge as a threat to his reelection bid.

But much can happen between now and Election Day.

Scott told NBC News today that he isn’t backing away from his controversial “11-Point Plan to Rescue America” that he introduced last year as a blueprint of sorts for Republicans to win back the Senate majority in November as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee – a plan that fell short, with the Democrats continuing to control the chamber, 51-49.

Among the most controversial parts of the plan were proposals to raise income taxes on more than half of Americans who currently pay none, and to sunset all federal programs after five years, including Social Security and Medicare.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Building on Sept. 7, 2022. Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Not only did Democrats pan the plan, but so did Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets social security and Medicare within five years,” McConnell told reporters in Washington D.C. last March. “That will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda.”

Scott denied in subsequent interviews last year that he wanted to do either of those things, telling Fox News last March regarding Social Security and Medicare that “we ought to figure out how we preserve those programs. Every program that we care about, we ought to stop and take the time to preserve those programs.”

Scott spent most of his career in health care before getting into politics. That included being CEO of Columbia/HCA in the 1980s and 90s, which ended with that company agreeing to pay hundreds of millions in criminal fines, civil damages and penalties for Medicare fraud.

Being a multimillionaire has helped Scott tremendously in all three of his statewide election victories over the past decade.

In the gubernatorial races, Scott won extremely close races in 2010, when Alex Sink was the Democratic nominee, and in 2014, when Charlie Crist was the Democratic nominee.

As to the U.S. Senate race in 2018, Scott’s margin of victory over Democrat Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate was so close it required a mandated recount. But in the end, Scott came out ahead by 10,033 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast.

Scott has long been rumored to have political ambitions beyond the Senate. But with two of the top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination being fellow Floridians Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, Scott’s announcement Thursday appears to have closed that door for now, at least.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.