Marco Rubio – Florida Politics

A Patrick Murphy-David Jolly gubernatorial run isn’t the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but …

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy seems to be under the mistaken impression that because he was his party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 U.S. Senate race, that he is the party’s leader.

So when the Democrat watched last week’s televised debate among the four announced gubernatorial candidates, Murphy, according to a source very familiar with his thinking about what he may be planning, sized up the field and said, ‘Hey, I can do better than that.’

While there’s no arguing with Murphy’s concept that Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and Chris King looked like, as the Tampa Bay Times’ Tim Nickens observed, they are not ready for prime time or with his conceit that he may be able to do better than that quartet, the possibility of a Patrick Murphy-David Jolly gubernatorial ticket isn’t the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s not only implausible, it’s practically insulting.

After putting down Alan Grayson in the Democratic primary in 2016, Murphy ran a lackluster campaign against Marco Rubio, losing worse than he should have.

After redistricting shaded his congressional district more blue than red, Jolly lost a quixotic bid to hang on to a seat that had become decidedly Democratic.

Since those campaigns, Murphy and Jolly have fostered a friendship and have traveled across the U.S. on their tour “Why gridlock rules Washington and how we can solve the crisis.

The duo has become the toast of editorial boards everywhere.

Politicos who yearn for a “third way” in American politics would love to see a Murphy-Jolly ticket, just as they wanted to see a John Kerry-John McCain unity ticket in 2004.

You know who is not clamoring for a Murphy-Jolly ticket? Florida voters, especially Democratic ones. And Murphy will quickly find that out in the polling he has commissioned to gauge his statewide viability.

Oh sure, when asking voters generically about, say, ‘two centrist leaders with experience in government,’ the numbers will be through the roof, but when you ballot-test Murphy-Jolly vs. the field, reality will set in.

What Murphy wants Democratic primary voters to do is pick him, a two-term congressman (hey, that’s twice as long as Graham’s time in D.C.) with a bent for moderation over a field of tried-and-true progressives. Part of his plan is a commitment to name as his running mate a former Republican lawmaker and lobbyist who agrees with very little in the Democratic platform other than Donald Trump is no bueno.

If this weren’t Florida politics, I’d say you were making this all up.

Unfortunately, this is reality and here’s where my words get serious. For one, Murphy’s plan to name Jolly as his running mate should be taken as an insult by true Democrats. They’ve been in the wilderness for more than twenty years, and now, with their first genuine shot of winning back the Governor’s Mansion, Murphy (a former Republican himself) wants to enlist the help of his while male buddy to get the job done. Neither of whom has worked day one in state government.

Democrats should tell him thanks, but no thanks. They should tell Murphy he’s more than welcome to join the Democratic primary, as candidate qualifying doesn’t close for a month. But they should insist he commit to not naming any Republican — be it Jolly or someone else — to the ticket.

I may be down on a Murphy-Jolly ticket, but I do have to give Murphy credit for something. Like John Morgan, he’s helped expose the weaknesses of this Democratic field — that Gillum is too radical, that Graham is over-emotive on the stump and underwhelming on fundraising calls, that Levine is from that foreign land known as Miami-Dade, and that King begins his day reading the Sayfie Review.

All four of these candidates continue to plead to party activists and the media that they are the real deal.

One of the four may eventually become something like the real deal, but because they’re not now, the door is open for one of the most interesting political partnerships since Matt Santos named Arnold Vinik his Secretary of State.

Marco Rubio looks to ‘reinvigorate’ conservative movement in challenging political environment

Sen. Marco Rubio has made moves in the last week to re-establish his bona fides with the conservative movement, concerns of which have been somewhat eclipsed despite Republican control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

Last week, Rubio brought forth one of the most prominent members of the movement, Mike Needham, as a chief of staff.

Needham came from Heritage Action, and one of the outlets most historically friendly to Rubio — National Review — lauded the hire, and credited Heritage Action as “looking for ways to make sense of the interplay of populism and conservatism since before most people on the right noticed anything was changing.”

Days after the rollout of the hire, Rubio expanded on his vision of the conservative movement, and how it has changed since his failed run for President in 2016, in an op-ed for that same publication.

Building a national American conservatism” is not the catchiest title imaginable; however, the piece is worth reading for those who want to understand where Rubio is headed, both in terms of policy prescriptions and a larger understanding that the tropes that work with the donor class fall flat with the working class.

Rubio’s article is notable for a number of regions, one of which being spotlighting daylight between town hall stump speeches and donor class conclaves.

“[B]y day, I had town halls in cities throughout New Hampshire hollowed out by the new economy, and events in Iowa with Americans who esteemed the traditional values of hard work, family, faith, and community, but who felt that the people in charge of our country did not,” Rubio observed. “By night, I traveled to California, Chicago, Palm Beach, and New York to raise money at the homes of people who lived very different lives.”

Ultimately, Rubio’s approach, though lauded in conservative movement publications like NR and The Weekly Standard, didn’t resonate with GOP primary voters.

“Ultimately, President [Donald] Trump won the office I sought. As a participant in that campaign, I can attest that he owes his victory to the fact that he was the candidate who best understood that our political parties no longer appealed to millions of Americans — that being hailed as a ‘reasonable conservative’ by CNN, or a ‘pure conservative’ by conservative think tanks didn’t mean anything to the millions of Americans who felt forgotten and left behind,” the Senator contended.

Rubio’s essay goes on to point out myriad existential threats to average Americans. Economic pressures engendered by globalization, Rubio contends, threaten both the “American work culture” and families, “buffeted by economic pressures that discourage family life, and by social engineering that seeks to replace it.”

Then the Senator poses some not-exactly-rhetorical questions.

“What happens to a nation when the only economic-policy options offered are narrow economic growth without redistribution, or narrow economic growth with redistribution? Or when the social security provided by strong families is replaced by accumulating wealth or by becoming dependent on government programs? What happens when what is right and wrong is relative instead of rooted in absolute truth found by faith? What happens when citizens of a nation abandon their shared inheritance for the identity politics of wealth, race, or ideology?”

Rubio’s answer: that’s what’s happening in America today.

Meanwhile, Rubio contends, the world is sliding toward the contracts of adhesion created by authoritarianism: “By our example, we have inspired the world to favor the side of liberty. But if we fail to correct our current course, we could end up emboldening the cause of autocracy.”

Rubio namechecks U.S. allies, such as the Philippines and Turkey, as examples thereof, in addition to China and Russia.

In that context, Rubio vows to work to “reinvigorate a national American conservatism that puts the strength of family, community, faith, and work first.”

Doing that, and striking the balance between ideological sinecures and places where voters live, may be a challenge for Rubio, as his messaging in recent months on the Republican tax reform package may indicate.

In December, reported The Hill, Rubio contended that the tax bill “probably went too far” in offering benefits to corporations.

“You’re going to see a lot of these multinationals buy back shares to drive up the price. Some of them will be forced, because they’re sitting on historic levels of cash, to pay out dividends to shareholders,” Rubio said. “That isn’t going to create dramatic economic growth.”

Yet by March, Rubio was selling the bill in the Jacksonville market, an event that focused on how tax cuts allowed a given business to expand.

The willingness to drive up deficits to grow the economy is one of the hallmarks of John Maynard Keynes‘ economic theory, and Rubio sounded like a Keynesian as he lauded tax cuts in the face of increased deficit spending under the Trump administration.

“When a business is able to keep more of the money that they are earning,” Rubio said in response to a question from this reporter about how the deficit-financed tax cuts were conservative, “they’re able to reinvest it. That reinvestment creates jobs, not just in that business but in all the businesses that support them. Those jobs become taxpayers.”

Of course, this issue was addressed last decade, during the Bush administration, when VP Dick Cheney noted President Ronald Reagan proved that “deficits don’t matter” by way of pushing through tax cuts in 2003.

The Bush economy hummed along, until it didn’t. The 2008 economic crash led to a slow-burn recovery that still hasn’t reached rural areas, including in Florida, a decade later.

Rubio and his colleagues will be forced, at least through the next 2 1/2 years, to reconcile contradictions between movement conservatism and how the game of politics actually is played.

And as recent moves suggest, Rubio intends to take a lead on what could be a politically difficult process.

Joe Henderson: Is Marco Rubio eyeing another presidential run?

If one is inclined to read between the lines, Marco Rubio sounded like a man running for president, again, with his blunt talk about Florida’s vulnerability to a Russian attack on the upcoming elections.

That doesn’t mean what the junior senator from our state had to say can be dismissed as political grandstanding. Hopefully, he convinced members of the Florida Association of Counties, the group to which he was speaking, that the threat is real.

It doesn’t hurt Rubio’s standing, though, to be a leading Republican voice about this national security issue.

Now, if he can just convince President Donald Trump this is serious stuff that goes to the core of what we value as a nation, we might have to give Rubio a prize for exceptional public service.

The Tampa Bay Times reported on Rubio’s talk, which included this gem of a quote about the operatives: “These are not people sitting in the basement of their mom’s house. These are nation state threats. They have significant resources and assets at their disposal to do this.”

That sounded a lot like a passive-aggressive swipe at the president, who dismissed concerns about Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election with the pithy comment, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke in to DNC.”

Speculation about Rubio’s long-range plan has been increasing lately.

A New York Times story this week noted Rubio’s recent hire of Michael Needham, former CEO of the conservative think tank Heritage Action for America, to be his chief of staff is the kind of move made by someone with long-term aspirations.

“The move is certain to raise questions about whether Mr. Rubio, whose hopes of becoming president in 2016 were dashed by Mr. Trump, may be positioning himself for another run,” reporter Jeremy W. Peters wrote.

“And it underscores how unsettled the conservative movement remains nearly two years after Mr. Trump won the Republican presidential nomination and became the party’s improbable leader.”

Rubio, of course, dismissed such speculation, telling the New York Times, “It’s so far-off in the future, I don’t know where my mind will be.”

It’s smart strategy though to position himself on the side of being able to say, “I told you so,” especially given the president’s disdain/fear about the issue of voter fraud.

He has been on the right side of this issue from the start.

After all, when the extent of hacking first came to light during months before the presidential election, Rubio warned,”… my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.

Rubio wasn’t ready for prime time when he ran for the top spot in the last election, and let’s just say that now there would be a lot of room on the “Rubio 2020” bandwagon.

But he is looking more like an actual senator lately than just a young man in too big of a hurry.

He was visible and active trying to secure hurricane relief for Florida. His very public cooperation and working relationship with Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is refreshing.

He held out his vote on the Trump tax package and won concessions for a better child care credit. And when he believes the president has done something good, he has been willing to be supportive.

Whether all that is a prelude to another run for the top job, well, it’s too soon to say.

What we can say, though, is that Rubio has been doing more things right lately. You don’t have to read between the lines to see that.

Marco Rubio hires new chief of staff away from Heritage Action

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio today announced he has hired Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, as his new chief of staff.

Needham fills a position vacated in late January when Rubio fired Clint Reed for violating policies “regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates.”

Deputy Chief of Staff Jessica Fernandez served as acting chief in the interim

Heritage Action is the political action arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

There, Needham was responsible for setting strategy and vision, and overseeing policy decision that held members of Congress such as Rubio accountable. Prior to that, he served various roles at the Heritage Foundation, and in The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

“Mike brings a wealth of policy, political and management experience that will greatly complement our office’s mission of serving the people of Florida and leading the effort to modernize the conservative movement in the 21st century,” Rubio stated in a news release issued by his office. “Mike understands and shares these goals, and I look forward to his contributions.”

Mike Miller digital ad highlights Marco Rubio endorsement in CD 7

Republican state Rep. Mike Miller has launched a new digital video ad that offers U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s endorsement praise in Florida’s 7th Congressional District race.

The ad shows Miller and Rubio together at a recent fundraiser for Miller’s campaign, walking a corridor of Orlando’s Amway Center with Miller, stating, “The people of Central Florida will have a pretty clear choice to make. I know Mike will win. And I believe with all my heart that he will make a difference, and I look forward to working with him and making that difference.”

Miller worked on Rubio’s campaigns, and Rubio endorsed Miller last summer.

The new ad also uses footage featuring Gov. Rick Scott, who was featured in Miller’s first ad. Scott also praised Rubio at a recent event in Central Florida, though he did not endorse him in the race, which includes fellow Republicans Scott Sturgill, Vennia Francois and Patrick Weingart.

They all seek to win the August 28 Republican primary for the chance to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and north-central Orange County.

Senators back hospitals on payment challenges

Tampa General Hospital is throwing its support behind a bipartisan proposal that, if passed by Congress, would allow it and other large health-care systems to challenge how the government estimates additional Medicare payments.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson are filing legislation Tuesday that would strike a provision in current law that precludes hospitals from challenging such payment decisions or the data used in reaching the decisions.

John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General Hospital, said in a statement that the legislation would restore “transparency, fairness, and due process for Tampa General Hospital and all of Florida’s safety net hospitals, allowing us to challenge major errors made by the (federal) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) when they occur.”

Tampa General was at risk of losing $2 million in what are known as Medicare “disproportionate share” payments last year after a Medicare claims administrator did not include updated Medicare uncompensated-care claims data in government forms. Rubio’s office intervened to prevent the cut to the 1,011-bed hospital, which serves as the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida’s medical school and cares for large numbers of low-income patients.

The legislation, though, would offer a more-permanent fix by eliminating a prohibition on administrative and legal challenges.

The original purpose of Medicare disproportionate share payments was to provide additional money to hospitals that treat large shares of low-income patients, who tend to be sicker and cost more.

The so-called DSH payment is calculated as a percentage add-on to the basic Medicare payments hospitals already receive. The amount of DSH money a hospital receives has traditionally been determined by a formula that includes the sum of two ratios: the proportion of all Medicare days that are attributable to beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income and the proportion of all patient days for which Medicaid is the primary payer.

The federal Affordable Care Act changed the DSH formula, though, and after fiscal year 2014, hospitals are receiving 25 percent of the amount they previously would have received. The federal law, better known as Obamacare, also made clear that hospitals aren’t entitled to administrative or judicial review of any estimate used to determine DSH payments.

Stephen Harris, Tampa General Hospital vice president of payor and government relations, told The News Service of Florida that “a good deal” of hospital information is used to derive the formulas.

Florida’s delegation presses for Kennedy Space Center launch support money for NASA’s next big rocket

Congressional letters signed by a large majority of Florida’s delegation are urging congressional leaders to support full funding not just for NASA’s next spacecraft and rocket but for critical upgrades at Kennedy Space Center to launch them.

The letters to chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees subcommittees overseeing space have drawn signatures of 21 of Florida’s House members and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and also have support of others who couldn’t appropriately sign because they’re on the committees, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

The letters focus on the multi-billion dollar projects to build NASA’s big new rocket, the Space Launch System, and the Orion Spacecraft, which are to carry astronauts into deep space. That’s not new. But the letters give equal weight now to urging full funding for the related Kennedy Space Center upgrades, to exploration ground systems, and for a new mobile launcher, huge boons to the space business at Florida’s Space Coast.

A letter sent last month by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, the Rockledge Republican who sits on the House Space Subcommittee, and co-signed by 10 other members of Florida’s delegation, urges $557 million for the exploration ground systems improvements in the 2019 federal budget, and another $17 million for other construction. It also calls for $150 million in 2019 to build a new mobile launcher that could support the SLS rocket for 40 years, a recent NASA policy direction change from plans now seen as problematic to retrofit the current mobile launcher. The letter also calls for another $2.15 billion for the SLS rocket development, and $1.35 billion for the final Orion crew vehicle development.

The rocket’s debut has been pushed back, but still is possible by the end of 2019, or in early 2020.

Most of the ground systems work has been underway for several years, but risks falling behind without full funding, and that could further delay the first launches of the SLS, even if the rocket and Orion spacecraft are fully developed and ready to go, the letters argue.

“The exploration ground systems are an indispensable part of the infrastructure of space exploration,” Posey’s letter states.

Posey’s letter drew signatures of 11 of Florida’s members of the House: Posey, Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Ron DeSantis, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Daniel Webster, and Ted Yoho.

A follow-up letter from Republican U.S. Sen. Brian Babin of Texas, making the same pleas, included 163 members signatures from throughout the country, and drew most of the 11 Florida members who signed Posey’s letter, plus ten more from Florida: Al Lawson, Val Demings, Dennis Ross, Brian Mast, Francis Rooney, Alcee Hastings, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Carlos Curbelo, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Three other House members from Florida, Tom Rooney, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are, like Rubio, on the main committee receiving the letters, and so do not sign under Congressional protocol.

Thirty-one senators including Nelson signed the Senate version, sent out Tuesday by Utah Republican Orrin Hatch.

Rubio’s office said he’s supportive, had an active role in pushing for $2.15 billion for the SLS rocket, $1.3 billion for Orion, and will “continue to push for increased funding in order to keep the ground system upgrades on track.”

Rick Scott urges quick action on agriculture aid

Gov. Rick Scott is asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to move quickly to get disaster-relief funding into the hands of Florida citrus growers, as it may be another three months before farmers can start to apply for the money.

In a letter Tuesday, Scott also asked Perdue to “customize federal aid for Florida citrus growers” to meet their needs.

“Many growers, both large and small, in Florida are awaiting details on the USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s) plan to distribute funding,” Scott wrote.

On Friday, Perdue announced that a program to distribute $2.36 billion to farmers in Florida and other areas would be running by July 16. The agriculture aid is part of a $90 billion disaster-relief package signed by President Donald Trump in February. The package is directed towards victims of hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria and wildfires in California.

Florida’s agriculture industry suffered an estimated $2.5 billion in losses from Irma, with the citrus industry accounting for at least $761 million of those damages.

Perdue’s announcement Friday said distribution information will come “at a later date.” His office also noted, in part, that compensation will be determined by producers’ individual losses rather than by average losses in particular areas and that people receiving aid obtain future crop insurance.

Scott’s letter followed a request by Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to “avoid arbitrary limitations on disaster relief so we can get Florida’s farms, groves, and nurseries back to full operation” as soon as possible.

“USDA is right to incentivize personal responsibility through the purchase of crop insurance, however some crop policies work better than others,” Rubio wrote. “USDA should not punish citrus growers and others who understandably forgo purchasing higher levels of coverage of a poor insurance product.”

Economic impact of defense in Florida? It’s big, naval regional commander says

The Sunshine State is a hotbed of military activity and in turn, defense spending takes up a decent-sized portion of the state’s economic tally, according to one of the Navy’s top-ranking members.

Rear Admiral Babette “Bette” Bolivar, commander of Navy Region Southeast, spoke to the Economic Club of Florida Monday in Tallahassee. She’s one of two female regional commanders overseeing the 11-unit shore-based organizational structure. 

As expected, much of her discussion focused on economics.

Citing figures from an Enterprise Florida-conducted study of defense spending, Bolivar said that military activity was responsible for $84.9 billion of Florida’s Gross State Product, a little more than 9 percent of all economic activity in 2016. 

The figure factored in procurement, salaries, and pensions or transfer payments “for all those retired veterans who come to settle in the state,” Bolivar said.

Defense spending, Bolivar said, “increased jobs in every Florida county.”

“Most of those jobs are high-wage positions,” she added.

Bolivar, who oversees 18 installations spanning locales in Texas to Guantanamo Bay, said the Navy, specifically, is an economic driver in Florida. Seven installations are peppered across the state, the largest of which, Naval Air Station Pensacola, employs more than 22,000 military and civilian personnel. 

“The real heart of the naval air station is the training,” added Bolivar. She said more than 59,000 members of the military and foreign allies graduate from training programs each year in Pensacola.

Combined with Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Bolivar said, the two Panhandle installations are the “backbone of the naval aviation training pipeline.”

At Whiting Field, 60 percent of all primary and fixed-wing naval aviators receive their training. Every helicopter pilot in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard also is trained at the base.

Another Panhandle base, Naval Support Activity Panama City, has an estimated economic impact of $673 million. It’s the second-largest employer in Bay County, ranked right after Tyndall Air Force Base.

During a brief question and answer session, Bolivar was asked by a member what “the future of Florida bases” looks like, given potential future cutbacks.

Responded Bolivar: “I would say that we’re pretty safe.”

She then gave a nod to Gov. Rick Scott, along with Florida’s U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.

“Between Gov. Scott and our senators, we have so much support in this state — it’s amazing,” Bolivar said. Her last regional operation was headquartered in Guam, where she said the culture was different. There is support there for the military, but it’s coupled with some opposition.

Since she’s taken over the Southeast headquarters in Jacksonville, “it’s been nothing but great support from the community and the state.”

Joe Henderson: Guns and Trump form backdrop of Rick Scott

Guns and Trump.

Let’s just cut to what figures to be the essence of a showdown between three-term incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and two-term Republican Gov. Rick Scott for a Florida U.S. Senate seat.

Scott’s entry into the race, long a foregone conclusion, becomes official Monday and signals the start of what could the most expensive and nasty race in the country. These days, that’s a high bar to hurdle but it can be done here.

There also could be a false assumption about this election.

So, you think Democrats are building toward a blue tsunami this fall? You think Donald Trump’s record unpopularity will suck down Republican candidates like the vacuum effect from a sinking ship?

Maybe so.

As we know in Florida all too well though, it’s dangerous to make assumptions about politics. And Scott’s candidacy already is a problem for Democrats.

To have any hope for their party to gain control of the Senate, Nelson must win. To do that, he will need lots of money from the national Democratic machine, potentially taking resources away from races in other states.

Scott, meanwhile, could again choose to self-fund a large part of his campaign, which would be heaven-sent to Republicans.

There are 33 Senate races this fall and nearly a dozen are expected to be competitive. Democrats must defend 25 seats, including 10 in states where Trump won in 2016. Eight of those seats are considered tossups.

Florida, of course, is one of those and it figures to be the big prize for both parties. Polls have been all over the place in this race so far.

That brings us back to the two things that matter most in this campaign: Guns and Trump.

Scott has been joined at the hip to Trump, which Nelson’s camp will exploit to the max. It may not matter as much as Democrats would like, though.

While Trump’s approval is hovering around 40 percent, and perhaps a little higher in Florida, his people will turn out and vote no matter what. In a mid-term election, turnout is the key and Democrats have fallen short there in the past.

The X factor is whether the slaughter of innocents at Parkland brings out thousands of new voters. If so, it could turn the election in Nelson’s favor.

Although Scott pushed through and signed a law imposing modest gun restrictions after 17 people were shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he still is closely identified with the National Rifle Association.

Nelson, on the other hand, proudly points to his F rating from that organization. And in an interesting twist, he has developed a close working relationship with his Republican counterpart in the Senate, Marco Rubio.

They have appeared together several times, and Rubio has vowed he will not campaign against Nelson.

Scott is not happy about that.

There’s another bit of unpredictability tossed into the stew. Start with how they got to this position.

Neither candidate is dynamic on the stump. Even their record of election wins comes with question marks. Nelson won three races against Republican opposition that seemed to get weaker every time.

Scott likely will be a tougher opponent, but by how much? He won both his gubernatorial races by about 1 percentage point. A win is a win, but wins like that are hardly an overwhelming mandate.

Democrats will attack Scott’s record on the environment, various scandals that popped up during his two terms, and – did we mention – he endorsed Trump.

He is friends with Trump.

He hangs out with Trump.

Trump. Trump. Trump.

Guns. Guns. Guns.

The question becomes whether making that argument to voters over the next seven months will convert hearts and minds or just reinforce existing opinions.

My guess is the latter. We’ll find out soon enough.

Game on.

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