April 13th, 2010
04:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Health care reform critic running 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.
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.

(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


Filed under: 2010 • Florida
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Average American

    Conservatives for Patient's Rights, that's a joke, right?

    April 13, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    Rick Scott is about as dishonest as they come, no wonder he's a republican. Talk about someone who lied constantly about the health care bill (and still is) and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who lied more. I sure hope the fine people of FL see this guy as he really is, I believe they will.

    April 13, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Aaaah, FL...where common sense goes to die.

    April 13, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. stormerF

    Congress does not even know what is in the health care bill,So anyone running against it should be OK. When the people who write a bill,can not read it and understand it enough to know if they may or may not lose their own coverage? Let alone they can not explain it to the American Tax Payers,Or how it will be paid for. Any foe of a bill that is so confusing is a good canidate as far as I am concerned.

    April 13, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. etesot Obe

    Are you really serious in comparing Obama to Palin? Really?
    One has brought hope and yes--change. The other lost and quit, and now peddles hate. She is now aptly a losing quitter or quitting loser. Pick one or both.
    What a waste of time pairing these two!

    April 13, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Jim M

    I guess the seniors down there will love to continue paying the doughnut hole in medicare.

    April 13, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    FL has, by far and away, the highest per capita incidence rate of Alzheimer's/dementia of any state (something like 450,000 out of 16-17M).

    People with cognitive disfunctions are easy to scare, make nervous and take advantage of.

    The GOP loves FL.

    April 13, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. pattie

    "A wealthy former hospital executive" should sound alarms with folks...next to a wallstreet banker this guys is another greedy self-serving sob!

    April 13, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. frank in valparaiso indiana

    Scott should be in jail not running for office. With no parole.

    April 13, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Jilli

    Rick Scott is a crook. The people FL should be smart enough to run away from this slimeball.

    April 13, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. MAD IN TEXAS

    Somebody needs to get with the program. The program of turning down everything OBAMA proposes. He is a traitor in the first degree.

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Peter E

    He certainly is qualified to be a politician... A rich olligarch that has defrauded countless people and can tell a string of empty statements and lies. Yup, he's ready to be a leader for the republicans!

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Marc

    "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."

    By 'cut costs' he means 'cut jobs' or 'cut poinless spending (like taking care of roads and bridges or policemen in all neighborhoods)'?
    And as of 'balance budgets'... coming from a Republican is soooo true...

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. LKinda H

    I'm with Obama, bring her on and lets see what she is made off. More quips and smart mouth talk than anything else. No substance at all. Just talk. Sexy looks and mouth that is what she is about, Just what the repubs want

    April 13, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Dutch

    Rick Scott, the man who put a bunch of false ads on television saying healthcare reform is a government takeover. That Rick Scott?

    April 13, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Isn't Scott the same one who got huge fines for his health care violations?

    April 13, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. No way...

    Isn't Rick Scott the CEO of the same company which got penalized for overcharge of the Medicare in billions of dollars? This guy is just a crook with taxpayers money. l would not trust him with my private savings account. In all honesty what happened to journalism now-a-day. They just report half of the story...

    April 13, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Pandering to low information citizens.

    April 13, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Mark

    Great, another idiot to join the ranks.

    April 13, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. ART

    key word here wealthy,obviously he doesn't know what its like to be without health insurance. Just another Republican who wants to make sure he keeps what he has all to himself and that the people who don't stay that way

    April 13, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Malcolm in St Louis

    Scott resigned from his former health care company, Columbia/HCA, during a major federal fraud investigation that ended with a $1.7 billion settlement.

    OOOPS!

    April 13, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Michael

    Another Florida nut, you sure breed a lot of them there. Do they come out of the swamps?

    April 13, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Kentucky

    Rick Scott used to live in Louisville, KY. He is an arrogant individual. I am glad he moved from Kentucky

    April 13, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. josh

    I really hope a Democrat wins...The senior citizens of Florida are always duped by Republicans and their fear mongering...All Republicans want to do is collect profits...They do not agree with helping out anyone...unless it is a tax break.

    April 13, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Bill Sampson

    This guy is a world class criminal. He is right at home in the Republican Party, I guess.

    April 13, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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