ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who challenged the Republican establishment six years ago and stormed his way into the governor’s mansion, now says he is considering running for the U.S. Senate.
During a wide-range interview with reporters on Tuesday, Scott conceded that “an option I have” is to run for the seat held by Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018. Nelson, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, has already said he plans to run for a fourth term.
Scott, who has already said he’s not interested in a potential job in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, didn’t lay out any kind of time table for a decision and instead said that he would continue to focus on his current post.
Scott said that in business he figured out that “if I do well every day in my job there would be a next opportunity.”
Scott was re-elected in 2014, but is limited by law from seeking another term.
Scott spoke of his intentions while attending the Republican Governors Association annual conference in Orlando where he said he was “excited” about Trump’s victory because he now had someone he could call on for help. Scott said that he had already talked to Trump three times since the election.
“I now have a president I can talk to,” said Scott, who repeatedly criticized the administration of President Barack Obama on a myriad of issues.
Scott’s bid for future office could be helped out by Trump, who Scott called a friend and said he’s someone he has known for 20 years. Scott endorsed Trump right after he won the Florida primary and stood by even as Trump came under fire for some of his comments during the campaign. He also was a chairman of a super PAC that raised $20 million that was used on ads in battleground states that were won by Trump.
Scott has compared his upstart victory in 2010 to Trump’s since the former health care executive ran against GOP favorite and then-Attorney General Bill McCollum. He noted that Republicans ran attack ads against him during the heated campaign.
During his remarks with reporters, Scott said it was time for Republicans who offered lukewarm support for Trump to now “embrace him.” He predicted that Trump could help the state on everything from flood insurance rates to securing federal funding for Everglades restoration and repairing the aging Lake Okeechobee dike.
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