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

Health care reform critic running for governor in Florida

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.scott.file.youtube.jpg caption="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. ConsiderThis-FL

    You've got to be kidding me! This guy nearly destroyed HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) by causing them to pay a fine in the MILLIONS for charges of Medicare Fraud and improper billing for medical services provided in their hospitals. Doesn't he know that he will be scrutenized by his opponents on his business dealings and soiled record?

    April 13, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Jack in Florida

    Not another neo-con in Florida, please!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. ProfBill

    "A wealthy former hospital executive"..........says it ALL!

    April 13, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Shame on you.

    If you are against health care reform, you basically want to deny millions of people (and children) access to health insurance. That is just plain wrong, un-Christian, and cruel. I would never vote for anyone who wants to deny people their right to be covered.

    Health care reform is for the middle class and poor people of this country. It is the right thing to do. PERIOD.

    April 13, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Dean

    Rick Scott, the founder of Conservatives for Patients' Rights,
    A wealthy former hospital executive . So much for those grass roots huh?. Same with the Tea Party crowd when will these people learn...

    April 13, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Stacey, California

    Yeah, yeah, just remember to tell the many medicare recipients in Florida that you will do everything to make sure that government keep their hands off their medicare and prescription beneftis. Sometimes these politicians have no idea of how much damage than do than good. It would be nice if politicians would pursue office for reasons to genuinely help people rather than for personal vandettas.

    April 13, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Terry

    Must be a slow day at the news desk because this survey was a waste of money. And why are you giving so much air time to her. Fixing to offer a job based on her intellect?

    If you all have that much time, it would be better spent giving us fact on the nominees for the supreme court.

    What is even worse, I make an obvious comment.


    April 13, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Aug 6, 2009 ... Rick Scott, ex-CEO of a hospital group that defrauded Medicare for $1.7 billion, wants you to trust him..........

    OK Florida, here's your chance to have a real big time crook for a governor. If you don't know who Rick Scott is by now you really need to do some internet searches. As it says above, he defrauded the government of $1.7 billion of your tax dollars.

    April 13, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. morris diehl

    Another scum sucking neocon whose motto is FUIGM. The only thing he cares about is himself.

    April 13, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "And people were complaining that the Surpreme Court ruling would allow companies to invest in campaigns."

    Hey dopey, the legislation they overturned applied equally to coporations and unions. All the SCOTUS did was allow both corporations AND unions to take a firmer deathgrip on our politicians' throats. If it's possible that the idiots in office could listen to us less, we'll soon find out.

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Another GOP phoney

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Wayne

    Sure, go right ahead. One more person to cloud up the conservative race down here so that we can get in a Democrat to actually make the state work for the first time since Lawton Chiles died.

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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