Rick Scott officially has a Primary challenger

Rick Scott Law Enforcement via campaign
Will Keith Gross benefit from a protest vote as Scott's opponent in August 2018 did?

Republican Primary voters in Florida will have a decision to make in August regarding whether to give a current Senator the party’s nomination again.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has qualified for the ballot, but an opponent has also qualified. Melbourne lawyer Keith Gross will be attempting to make his case to GOP registrants that they can do better than their current Senator.

It remains to be seen how seriously Scott, a former two-term Governor first elected in 2018, will take the challenge from the unheralded and underfunded Gross.

The most recent poll of the General Election shows the Senator above 50% against likely Democratic nominee Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and both Scott’s and Mucarsel-Powell’s messaging is more suited to a General Election than a contested Primary.

Scott closed the quarter with $3,782,782 in cash on hand, a relatively modest number not reflective of his campaign’s ultimate spending capacity. Of that money, the campaign raised $1,103,113 since the beginning of the year, spending $1,561,459. Other authorized committees poured in $1,066,588.

Of course, the formal fundraising report tells only part of the story. He raised a total of $2.5 million between his campaign and three other committees in Q1, along with $140,000 for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. A PAC backing Scott also raised $1.4 million.

Beyond that, there’s his ability to self-fund.

As Roll Call noted in 2018, Scott put $63.6 million into his successful race against former Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. He poured more than $75 million into his 2010 race for Governor, where he ran as an outsider candidate who toppled a Republican backed by many establishment elements of the party.

Meanwhile, Gross closed the quarter with under $30,000 on hand, against nearly $1.75 million in campaign debts.

Scott’s 2018 election was a November nail biter. He prevailed over three-term Sen. Bill Nelson by less than a percentage point.

However, he did not sweep the Republican Primary despite clearing the field of serious competition.

Serial candidate Roque de la Fuente got more than 11% in August 2018 as a protest vote against Scott, who had irked some on the right by signing off on post-Parkland gun control measures, which included banning people under 21 from buying guns.

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


13 comments

  • Anna

    April 22, 2024 at 5:48 pm

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    April 22, 2024 at 5:48 pm

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    April 22, 2024 at 5:49 pm

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  • Ocean Joe

    April 22, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    He may be gross, but he’d certainly be an improvement.

    • Earl Pitts "RON'S OFFICIAL "UNOFFICIAL VPOTUS CAMPAIGN MANAGER" American

      April 22, 2024 at 6:11 pm

      Sage wisdom my Besty OJ,
      I, Earl Pitts American, also fully suport Keith.
      Thank you OJ,
      Earl Pitts American

    • Earl Pitts "RON'S OFFICIAL "UNOFFICIAL VPOTUS CAMPAIGN MANAGER" American

      April 22, 2024 at 6:19 pm

      Lets get Keith down st The Villages for a golf cart parade and BBQ. The Hot MlLF’s down here say hes good looking. I’ll keep you in the loop OJ,
      EPA

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  • Dont Say FLA

    April 23, 2024 at 7:22 am

    The most decent thing Scott ever done is what gets him primaried?

    LOL. @ Florida!!! where if you beat the charges you can beat the heet

    • Nope

      April 23, 2024 at 3:31 pm

      FL primary qualifying questions:

      a) have you ever committed a major crime and profited from it with full public knowledge and support?
      b) are you a sociopath?
      c) are you a malignant narcissist?
      d) do you currently have access to dark money, or would you be willing to sell out citizens and access to government in order to benefit a select, to-be-designated, group of influencers?
      e) are you a hypocrite and comfortable with moral and logical inconsistency?

      You must answer YES to at least 3 of the above 5 qualifiers.

      Thank you,
      gqp

      • Lonnie

        April 24, 2024 at 9:41 am

        You said it best!

  • Lonnie

    April 24, 2024 at 9:54 am

    Of course, the compromised Gancarski fails to mention the fundraising totals for Florida’s next U.S. Senator, former congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, which are significant and impressive.
    He also fails to note that while the compromised Scott may be above 50% (barely) against Mucarsel-Powell, recent polls indicate that 74% of Floridians do not yet know her name. That is changing bigly, yet she is already a major threat to Scott’s reign of terror advocating sunsetting Social Security and Medicare.
    And while 100% of Floridians may recognize Scott’s name, it’s because of the huge amount of publicity his HCA’s record breaking fine for Medicare fraud, a fine in the trillions of dollars.
    No, it is NOT true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity!

    • Nope

      April 24, 2024 at 4:18 pm

      Gancarski broke the story of DMP running, was the first to get a one on one interview, and has given extensive coverage. You seem to want a preferential editorial, which is not what this site is about. Which I appreciate.

    • Don't shoot the messenger

      April 24, 2024 at 4:30 pm

      I don’t like it when people accuse journalists of being “compromised” when they’re reading news on a free site. Like, how is somebody compromised who works 24/7 for peanuts? Because they don’t write editorials or make pandering side comments? Be careful who you slander. Our local journalists are the only thing standing between total authoritarian takeover with all the noise and propaganda. I am tired of people attacking journalists for not showing the favouritism they want then saying all media is biased and shows favouritism. It’s a messed up system but I appreciate this site because these people try hard and they sure aren’t making bank.

Comments are closed.


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