Gov.-Elect Rick Scott

GOV.-ELECT RICK SCOTT…. After having been born and raised in Florida, I’ve come to expect a certain amount of madness from the state, especially when it comes to politics. But I honestly thought Floridians’ judgment wasn’t quite this bad.

Wealthy businessman Rick Scott (R) will be the next governor of Florida after state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) conceded this morning, handing Republicans a victory in one of the marquee gubernatorial contests in the country.

Sink’s concession came as raw vote totals showed her trailing Scott by roughly 50,000 votes out of more than five million cast. […]

Scott’s victory also has major implications for the 2011 congressional redistricting as the Sunshine State is slated to gain two seats and Republicans now control the governorship as well as the state House and state Senate.

Rick Scott is, of course, best known as the disgraced former head of the Columbia/HCA health-care company that got caught up in a massive fraud scandal in the 1990s — and nothing says victory in Florida like “Medicare fraud.” Scott’s firm later pleaded guilty to charges that it overbilled state and federal health plans, and agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines, a record penalty for a health care company. The fines covered fraud perpetrated under Scott’s watch, and he was forced out of his job as a result of the scandal.

More recently, Scott used his personal fortune to hire the Swiftboat liars’ p.r. firm, and proceeded to launch a breathtakingly deceptive right-wing ad campaign in opposition to health care reform. He is, by the way, also at the center of an ongoing scandal stemming from his alleged fraud at a different health care company he created.

When the initial HCA scandal broke, and Scott was forced to give a deposition about his role, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment — 75 times. After the second fraud scandal broke, Scott gave another deposition just days before he announced his gubernatorial campaign, but refused to let the public know what he said.

And despite his scandals and alleged crimes, and the fact that he’s never held any public office and at any level, Rick Scot will now be the chief executive of one of the nation’s largest states.

Usually, far-right Republicans get elected and then become criminals. It’s not every day an apparent crook gets caught and then gets elected.