Ron DeSantis vs. Rick Scott? Speculation swirls of pending clash

DeSantis Scott
'Rick is always a guy who maintains options because he has a checkbook.'

The relationship between Florida’s current Governor and his predecessor has been chilly at best.

From the moment U.S. Sen. Rick Scott left the inauguration of Gov. Ron DeSantis early, evidence has piled up of a dysfunctional working relationship and a personal animus. Now, new reporting suggests the simmering conflict may boil over into a 2024 showdown on a national stage, even as Scott’s Senate office told Florida Politics again Friday afternoon Scott is “running for re-election.”

Puck News article entitled “Who’s afraid of Rick Scott?” suggests one person with some trepidation might be DeSantis himself.

The current Governor has ridden high for months in polls of a still-hypothetical 2024 Republican Presidential Primary field, and Scott has been a marginal afterthought if polled at all. But the article by veteran journalist Tara Palmeri suggests, as one DeSantis alum puts it, it’s “very bad news” if Scott indeed passes on a re-election bid after all and runs for the presidency.

“Scott is still leaving the door open for a presidential run in 2024,” the report contends, citing a Scott advisor as saying the Senator “wants to keep his options open.”

To that end, Palmeri suggests the Senator has been operating on two tracks. His Chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which started and ended with Democratic control of the Senate, was a way to “build his own donor network across the country.”

“Rick is always a guy who maintains options because he has a checkbook,” a “former DeSantis staffer” was quoted as saying. “He’s very disciplined and he doesn’t do things half-assed. He’s very analytical and it’s a very dangerous proposition for DeSantis if he runs. Rick has the credibility to take the wind out of Ron’s sails and he has the money to wear him out.”

The attacks could take many forms, reportedly. “Scott views the DeSantis administration, I’m told, as overly focused on culture war piñatas rather than fiscal issues,” Palmeri writes, before suggesting that double-Ivy DeSantis’ student loan debt may be a campaign trail albatross, useful to “frame DeSantis as a taxpayer-mooching grifter who is worth $300,000 while still carrying student loans.”

Whether DeSantis’ middle class level of personal wealth can inspire outrage against Scott, the richest man in the plutocratic U.S. Senate, remains to be seen. When running for office, DeSantis distanced himself from Scott amid controversy about the Senator’s blind trust for his assets as Governor.

“I basically made decisions to serve in uniform, as a prosecutor, and in Congress to my financial detriment,” DeSantis said in October 2018. “I’m not complaining about that, but I’m not entering (office) with a big trust fund or anything like that, so I’m not going to be entering office with those issues.”

“Rick Scott’s team is vicious,” the former DeSantis aide said. “It’s very bad news for Ron if Rick gets in the race because he has the resources to zero in on him. He can go around and say that Ron DeSantis is standing on his shoulders with credibility.”

Those who have followed the first four years of DeSantis’ administration will recall a number of volleys one man lobbed at the other. Perhaps the most vivid was in 2020, when the state’s creaky unemployment website couldn’t handle the surge of applicants for reemployment assistance.

The Governor likened it to a “jalopy in the Daytona 500” and Scott urged him to “quit blaming others” for the website his administration inherited.

The chill between the former and current Governors didn’t abate in time for 2022’s hurricane season, when Scott said DeSantis didn’t talk to him after the fearsome Hurricane Ian ravaged the state.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


14 comments

  • G. Fardella

    January 20, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    We are lucky to have a great governor and two excellent US senators…all this talk of friction is negative when everyone should be opting for more liberty, freedom, fiscal control and traditional culture, rather than the woke ism, if you will, of the whacko democrats…Is that clear enough? lolololo

    • Peggy

      January 20, 2023 at 7:41 pm

      Great governor? LOL
      DeSantis is a piece of human filth.

    • Bill

      January 22, 2023 at 3:24 pm

      DeSantis is literally afraid of words on a piece of paper and based on his obsession with drag shows, a cross dresser to boot. Liberty, freedom, yeah – tell the damned state government to leave us alone and stop getting into everyone’s business.

  • Mac Wiseman

    January 20, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    Nope. Scott’s not going to be a disrupter. While Scott may think he has a shot and run for POTUS Scott can not win. Scott’s a Florida only boy. Outside Florida nobody gives a crap about Scott.
    You lefties will be screaming at the sky for Eight Straight years under the Trump/Desantis administration.

    • PeterH

      January 20, 2023 at 6:49 pm

      Trump and DeSantis cannot run on the same ticket. It’s not Constitutionally allowed!

      • NW

        January 24, 2023 at 8:18 pm

        That is not true. Neither the Constitution nor any law prohibits it.

        Here is where you are confused:

        Article II of the US Constituion states: “The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.”

        So it is allowed, but if both the Presidential and VP candidates are from the same state, that state’s electoral college members could not vote for them. In the case of Trump and DeSantis running together and winning the popular vote in Florida, Florida’s 30 electoral college members could not vote for them because at least one of the two would not be from a different state than the electoral voters.

        Easy to deal with though. Trump could just declare New York again. Much like Cheney switched back to Wyoming from Texas when he was selected to be on the ticket with Georger W. Bush.

  • PeterH

    January 20, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    A good Florida cat fight is always appreciated!

  • Tallahassee Insider

    January 20, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott absolutely despise each other.
    Everybody here in Tallahassee knows it.

  • risky

    January 21, 2023 at 7:58 am

    They should become gay lovers and co-sponsors of the Let’s Get to Woke Act!

  • Leonard

    January 21, 2023 at 8:38 am

    You use one source to write a ridiculous article. The quote that Scott is a “very dangerous proposition” for DeSantis. Scott has never won because of his ability, his charisma, his message, or his principled stand on issues. His politic wins have all been the results of using hundreds of millions of dollars to buy his victories. That won’t work with Trump or DeSantis. And if you think Scott will cut down DeSantis—what do you think Trump will do to Scott? Rick Scott has been incredibly lucky thus far…he has never run against a candidate that was well liked or well funded…when he does he will lose by double digits.

  • M. Mouse

    January 22, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    Ron and Rick. Dumb and Dumber but with evil streaks, pissing into the wind together.

  • tom palmer

    January 23, 2023 at 9:19 am

    This article raises an interesting third option, which is for DeSantis to challenge Scott in a Republican primary for his Senate seat. That would save DeSantis the exposure and examination by the national media if he runs for President and can instead run in Florida, where he has been able to suppress media scrutiny. DeSantis is a relatively young man and could still run for President after a term in the Senate.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    January 24, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    They should clash the same way Aaron Burr & Alexander Hamilton did.

    • Ddelia

      January 25, 2023 at 11:23 am

      America would have done better if Burr took the bullet. Let’s hope a duel between those two would be mutually assured destruction.

Comments are closed.


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