Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a close ally of President Trump, formally entered the race for a U.S. Senate seat on Monday, kicking off a marquee contest against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) that has major implications for control of the Senate next year.
Scott made the announcement in a video distributed on Twitter, framing himself as an outsider to a “horribly dysfunctional” Washington — a theme he repeated to a group of supporters in Orlando minutes later.
“Washington is full of old thinking,” Scott said. “Washington is tired. And the truth is, both political parties share some of the blame.”
Scott’s announcement sets the stage for what is expected to be one of the most expensive races in the country, taking place in a swing state that was a key to Trump’s 2016 victory. It also offers a test of whether a tight alliance with Trump provides more help or harm in the current political environment.
For months, Trump and Republican Party leaders have been trying to coax Scott to challenge Nelson, who is seeking his fourth term and has been stepping up appearances across Florida, the nation’s third most populous state.
“I’ve always run every race like there’s no tomorrow — regardless of my opponent,” Nelson said in a statement released shortly after Scott’s announcement. “While it’s clear that Rick Scott will say or do anything to get elected, I’ve always believed that if you just do the right thing, the politics will take care of itself.”
Scott’s long-expected entrance into the race makes it instantly competitive and will force Democrats to devote considerable resources they would otherwise be able to spend elsewhere as they try to wrest control of the Senate from Republicans. The GOP holds a narrow 51-to-49 majority in the chamber.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, John Wagner and Sean Sullivan