August 25th, 2010
02:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Florida GOP struggles to overcome rift after Scott win

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="Rick Scott has not yet spoken to his primary opponent in the aftermath of Tuesday's primary."]Orlando, Florida (CNN) - Bill McCollum conceded the governor’s race in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but he has yet to speak with Republican nominee Rick Scott.

Both campaigns said Wednesday that phone calls between the two candidates have not been exchanged, an unsurprising development among Florida GOP insiders who acknowledge a deep reservoir of ill will between the two men after months of bruising campaigning.

McCollum spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said her boss will spend the fall working to elect Republicans up and down the Florida ballot, but would not say whether the Attorney General will endorse Scott.

McCollum indicated as much on the evening before the primary vote, when he told reporters “it would be very difficult for me” to back Scott as the GOP nominee.

“I would have to sit down with him and be persuaded,” McCollum said Monday. “I see lots of problems with him, personally, right now.”

Much of that ill will stems from Scott’s attempts to tarnish McCollum’s integrity with a television advertisement tying him and his establishment allies to disgraced former Florida GOP leader Jim Greer, a dubious charge that had the Republican Governors Association urging Scott to pull the ad.

The bad blood may be one reason that the Republican Party of Florida called off a pair of unity rallies scheduled for Wednesday that were supposed to feature Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

The RGA gave Scott, a millionaire former health care executive, only a half-hearted endorsement in a statement released Tuesday night lamenting the negativity of the campaign. “That said, the primary is over, Rick Scott is the nominee, the general election has begun, and our party now looks forward,” an RGA spokesman said.

Scott will move on to face state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the general election, and Democrats were already hoping to exploit the GOP rift.

“It’s going to be very hard for the Republican Party to heal behind Rick Scott,” Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine said on MSNBC.

Still, while the two candidates have yet to speak, GOP insiders in Florida told CNN Wednesday that Scott is already extending an olive branch to party figures and members of the state legislature who supported McCollum.

State Sen. John Thrasher, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a vocal McCollum supporter, called Scott Tuesday evening to offer congratulations.

And Scott is spending Wednesday talking with House and Senate leadership to determine if they share they same agenda moving forward.

“There are already discussions going on,” said state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, another big McCollum backer. “We are going to be getting together in the next few days. He ran as an outsider and it made sense to bang on the elected officials. It’s part of politics.”

Former Florida GOP chairman Al Cardenas said Scott enters the general election as a five or six point underdog.

Cardenas predicted that Scott must hold onto more than 80 percent of Republican voters if he hopes to win, while also shoring up support among independent voters and business leaders who are already being courted by Sink.

“He has got to walk a tight rope,” Cardenas told CNN. “Obviously he doesn’t want to lose the people who got him the nomination, but he will need the establishment voters too. He got less that 50 percent of total Republican vote together.”

With Election Day just over two months away, Cardenas said, “He has got to close the sale in a very short period of time.”

Filed under: 2010 • Florida • Rick Scott
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Isn't Rick Scott the guy whose company was convicted of Medicare fraud?

    Why would anyone vote for a crook like this? He has absolute contempt for the average American and only cares about himself and his wealthy cronies.

    August 25, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I encourage my fellow Floridians to say, "No!" to the medicare fraud man. Alex Sink deserves to be elected, as she will represent all Floridians, not just the big corporations. Let common sense prevail.

    August 25, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I certainly hope the 'dumb as rocks' (Dar) right wingnuts come to their senses and dump the corporate criminal Scott.

    August 25, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Georgia, Joe

    I can understand why the Attorney General may have a problem endorsing Scott. Your asking a law enforcement official to endorse someone who had the most significant medicare fraud case in history occur when he was CEO of Columbia HCA. As corporate fraud goes, Scott is in the same class as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Bernie Ebbers and Dennis Kozlowski. Scott clearly does not belong in the Governors office.

    August 25, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Endorse Charlie Crist McCollum because he is an honest man. This bozo Scott ran on one thing only and it won't fly because he doesn't have anything else.

    August 25, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. larry

    Human beings in Florida must get out and vote in November to stop Tricky Ricky beam me up Scotty from getting into office. That would be a disaster for Florida.

    August 25, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Orlando Patriot

    Just shows why we voted the bum out!! McCollum was in office for over 30 years and can't tell us ONE thing he did while there? Can only say that a vote for him is not as bad as a vote for Rick Scott? Are you kidding me!! That is what is wrong with government. They have no spines and shift positions more than barefoot tourist on the beaches of Florida on a hot July day. We want someone who has some kahunas and will stand up proudly to tell us of their accomplishments!! 30 years and no accomplishments to discuss?

    Is Rick Scott the right choice? Time will tell but he was definitely the BEST choice between the two!! Government needs to realize that WE DO NOT WORK FOR YOU!! YOU WORK FOR US!!

    August 25, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. larry

    Here we have a watermelon head in Tricky Ricky who made millions from a company that defrauded the medicare system out of billions of dollars. I'm sure he fits the bill for "The White Annoying Teabaggers" Hopefully no one else will vote for him.

    August 25, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. worksforme

    I really can't believe the intelligence, or rather lack of, of the people of Florida. Here we have a "convicted" crook that bilked the Medicare system of billions all in the name of healthcare at Colombia. He's a crook from the get go. I would now still believe that it is truly lies, greed and collusion that helps you suceed in America.

    August 25, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. CR

    The Republicans can't even be civil to each other anymore. It seems like there is no limit to their nastiness and nuttiness.

    August 25, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. independent minds want to know

    It's fun to read the comments on these boards. Most liberal 'bloggers' have shown that they have no idea how government works or what is going on. They provide a lot of name calling and false accusations. Then again, most get their 'news' from Comedy Central.

    August 25, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Observer

    The Florida Republican governor candidates and the Democratic Senate candidates relentlessly smeared each other in their nasty campaigns. They demonstrated a lack of integrity for all of them. Fortunately, voters will be able to elect none of them.

    August 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. RAG

    Oh great. Now we will have three criminals in a row as Governor of Florida. Jeb Bush – Traitor, Charlie Crist – Thief, Rick Scott – Theif, Racketeer. Aaack!

    August 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Marty, FL

    It is unbelievable the primary voters just nominated the worst Medicare-fraud executive in history–Rick Scott ran a deplorable campaign against McCollum. Want to know why I left the Republican Party? Exhibit A.

    Alex Sink for our first woman governor...hands down! She is moderate and has (successful) executive experience.

    August 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Lucas Breen

    Rich guy tears down the integrity of a highly principled long-time public servant, who has served his state admirably, then buys nomination.

    Welcome to GOP 2010.

    August 25, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Tim

    Wasn't this the same Scott dude that was involved in one of the largest Medicare fraud cases in history? What a skunk!

    August 25, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    typical Republican sore loser......looks like we've been putting up with that since Jan 20. 2009.

    August 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Augsbee

    Hope Rick Scott wins against Alex Sink. She eliminated thousands of jobs in Florida when she was the President of Bank of America in charge of all of Florida. Right now it is about creating jobs not eliminating jobs, I doubt Alex Sink understands that now when she didn't understand it back then. Rick Scott is known for creating jobs as he is a successful businessman in the Healthcare industry.

    August 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Hammerer

    Maybe now the politicans will understand the the American people are fed up with both parties and government as usual.

    August 25, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. GL

    That's what the Republicans party get for letting the far right Tea Baggers hyjack their party.

    August 25, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Julia- Idaho Native American

    Is This guy going to be the First Florida Governor, that has ripped off the Medicare System and then was reward with a huge bonus for the rip off of the tax payers? Wow, Maybe they should rename Florida, now let's see what would that be? Maybe The Frank and Jesse James Memorial State of Florida. Crime does pay.

    August 25, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Julia- Idaho Native American

    I forgot to apologize to Frank and Jesse, they are mother Teresa compared to Rick, the Bandit Scott

    August 25, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Amy

    great, Scott is know for stealing money from government and McCollum came up with the idea of crazy anti-immigrant laws for Florida at the last second of campaign. Those are wonderful GOP candidates, I don't know which one to chose...I guess I will go with Democrat Alex Sink, who wants green energy for the state, is not racist and anti-immigrant and did not commit any crime. The chose could not be more obvious in Florida! I don't need more corrupted politicians in our great state. Go Alex!!!

    August 25, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Ali Morales

    I was born and raised in Florida and hate the thought of having to watch Rick Scott's Campaign Advertisements for another 70 days; when an ad comes on, I change the channel until it'soff. Already this morning, the ads started again. I have never seen so much mud slinging in all my years (and I'm 75) as I have seen during this primary. I find his ads, distasteful and obnoxious. Hopefully Floridians will wake up before the General Election in November!

    August 25, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Augsbee

    Hey, it's better Rick Scott then Alex Sink who eliminated 1000's of jobs when she was Bank of America's President in Florida. People don't need to go through that again, we have enough unemployment for now, let's not add to it.

    August 25, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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