Can Money Save Rick Scott?

At TPM Daniel Strauss reports there is widespread unease among Florida Republicans reading a batch of recent statewide and regional polls showing that Gov. Rick Scott’s comeback against Charlie Crist may have stalled, leaving the incumbent in renewed trouble.

Now it’s true that Scott is planning an insanely well-funded general election campaign, mostly from his own deep pockets, filled in no small part by his dubious tenure as CEO of the Columbia/HCA for-profit hospital chain. A budget of $100 million is what his people have been talking about, though I supposed it could go higher (he spent $73 million of his own money in 2010, but that included a highly competitive primary and a lot of investment in name ID).

This makes me wonder if Scott might be in danger of overkill like the one candidate who has spent more than Scott on a state election: California’s Meg Whitman, who tossed $144 million of her money into a failed gubernatorial campaign in 2010. It’s generally felt in California (though no one has documented it empirically) that Whitman lost votes in the end with a deadening oversaturation of the airwaves. The experience of seeing Scott’s somewhat disturbing image every time a Floridian turns on the tube might not necessarily be the ticket to victory.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.