Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott and his wife, Ann, at the Republican Party of Florida’s Statesman Dinner in Orlando on Sept. 14, 2023 (photo credit: Mitch Perry)
Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis didn’t attend the Republican Party of Florida’s annual Statesman’s dinner Thursday night in Orlando, but Rick Scott, who faces reelection in the U.S. Senate, kicked off the proceedings and took delight in attacking the Florida Democratic Party.
Scott opted to go light in his prepared remarks, doing a David Letterman-like “Top 10” statement on why politics was “so great.”
But as Scott would probably be the first to say, he’s no David Letterman.
Some of the top ten points were simply affirmations of how parts of the GOP party were great, as he gave props to Republican Party Chairman Christian Ziegler and the volunteers and others who have helped Scott win two gubernatorial races and one U.S. Senate run with incredibly small margins over the past 13 years.
He went with some self-mockery, noting “we have the only senator dumb enough to run against Mitch McConnell,” a reference to Scott’s quixotic challenge to the longtime GOP Senate Minority Leader in the immediate aftermath of last year’s disappointing Republican midterm election, where he lost, 37-10.
But after making fun of himself, he then took delight in attacking the Florida Democratic Party.
“Thank God for them,” Scott said, before describing how reportedly the Florida Democratic Party’s federal entity had failed at the end of 2020 to pay for the health insurance of their employees.
Not naming names, he then referred to the fact that the three top Democrats who are running to challenge him next year – Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Phil Ehr and Alan Grayson – have all lost their last political races for Congress.
He then mentioned how former NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Grant Hill were allegedly considering challenging Scott for the U.S. Senate next year, but ultimately opted not to do so. “Of course, they had more sense to do so,” he said, before adding that “the Tan Mom is running. So that’s interesting.”
That would be Patricia Krentcil, a Boca Raton resident who has filed to run for the U.S. Senate seat, according to the Miami Herald.
Scott then fired verbal shots at Charlie Crist, whom he defeated in his reelection for governor in 2014.
“You’ve heard about a Republican, Democrat and independent who goes into a bar? That’s Charlie Crist,” he said, getting a few laughs. (In his lengthy political career, Crist did indeed serve as a Republican, Democrat and Independent.)
As to Scott, it will be the fourth statewide race for the 70-year-old Naples resident in the past 14 years. It will be unique for him in two ways: It will be the first time he’s run in the same year that there is a presidential election also on the ballot. He’ll also be running for the first time where Republicans have a substantial edge in voter-registration over the Democrats – more than 560,000 at this time.
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