(CNN) – A wealthy former hospital executive who became one of the most visible opponents of President Obama's health care reform effort is launching an upstart bid for governor in Florida.
Rick Scott, the founder of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, will challenge Attorney General Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination as a "conservative outsider," an adviser said Tuesday. State Sen. Paula Dockery is also seeking the GOP nod but trails McCollum in polls.
The statement accompanying Scott's announcement boasted breathlessly that Scott "shook up the Florida political establishment" by jumping in the race, which will pit the GOP winner against Alex Sink, the Democratic state Treasurer. All three are looking to succeed Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for Senate instead of pursuing a second term.
Though McCollum is himself taking a high-profile stand against health care reform - he led a group of Attorneys General in filing a federal lawsuit against the bill - the Republican has not ignited the kind of conservative enthusiasm surrounding Marco Rubio's Senate candidacy.
Scott suggested he can be that kind of candidate.
"Florida needs a conservative who is not afraid to upset the apple cart, an outsider who is not part of the political establishment, and a businessman who knows how to create jobs, cut costs, balance budgets, and bring new ideas to old problems," the Naples resident said in a statement.
Scott, however, will have some baggage to explain: Scott resigned from his former health care company, Columbia/HCA, during a major federal fraud investigation that ended with a $1.7 billion settlement.
McCollum's campaign did not immediately have reaction to Scott's candidacy.
UPDATE: McCollum's team issued a statement on Scott's entry into the race.
"We respect the right of any Floridian to seek office," said McCollum spokeswoman Kristy Campbell. "Attorney General Bill McCollum looks forward to continuing his conversation with the people of Florida on the future of our state and economy. Floridians are looking for solid, experienced leadership for Florida's future. When voters head to the polls, we are confident they will support Bill McCollum as the leader who will jumpstart Florida's economy and create the jobs our state desperately needs."
Story updated at 4:50 p.m. ET