Candidates

Richard 'Rick' Scott
(Rep)

Contact Information

Telephone:850-717-9337 (Main phone number)
Telephone:954-915-3360 (Main campaign number)
Fax: 
Campaign finance

Candidate Background

Birthdate:1952-12-1
Birth place:Bloomington, IL
Residence:Naples, FL
Religion:Christian
First Elected:2010

Candidacy

Party:Republican
Office:Governor
State:FL
Status:Incumbent
Next Election:2014

Undergraduate education: University of Missouri - Kansas City

Major: 
Degree:BA
Location: 

Graduate education: Southern Methodist University

Major: 
Degree:JD
Location: 

Rick Scott was born in Bloomington, Ill., raised in Kansas City, Mo., and now resides in Naples, Fla. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he earned a bachelor's in business administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a law degree from Southern Methodist University.

Scott was working as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in Dallas when he and some partners bought two struggling hospitals in El Paso, Texas. Through aggressive acquisitions and cost cutting, he built Columbia/HCA into the largest health care concern in the world. The company's board ousted him in 1997 amid a federal investigation into Medicaid and Medicare fraud.

Scott later started an investment firm and a Florida chain of urgent care clinics that offer menu-style pricing. He moved to Florida from Connecticut in 2003.

He was elected governor in 2010.

Scott and his wife, Ann, have two daughters.

Profile

Rick Scott arrived into office with a conservative message about cutting government spending, reducing regulations and cutting taxes and his agenda has largely followed that direction.

Scott had never run for office before spending almost $80 million of his and his family's money to win the race, coming from behind to beat then-Attorney General Bill McCollum, who had been backed by the party establishment, and then barely beating Democrat Alex Sink in a year when all other Republican statewide candidates easily defeated Democrats.

Almost as soon as he was sworn in in 2011, Scott's approval rating plummeted. He was seen as representing the far right of the Republican Party and putting corporations over people. That image was further engrained when within a month of taking office he announced his first budget proposal in a rural central Florida church as part of a tea party rally.

It also didn't help that in his first year he slashed education spending by more than $1 billion while pushing through corporate tax cuts while signing a bill to force women to get ultrasounds before having an abortion and another that banned doctors from asking patients about gun ownership.

After his approval hovered around 30 percent, Scott's office tried to soften his image. He began what he called "Let's Get to Work Days" in which he would spend a day doing ordinary jobs, from selling doughnuts to teaching to working on a shrimp boat. It borrowed from Democrat Bob Graham's successful workdays he performed as governor and senator.

Scott also began trying to repair the rocky relationship he had with the media while campaigning and after he first took office. He began meeting with newspaper editorial boards and in 2012 he went further than any other governor to provide openness when he began posting staff emails online.

Also in 2012, he tried to repair his image of being bad for education. He insisted he would not sign a budget if it didn't include a $1 billion increase for public schools. Critics pointed out that the amount still didn't match what was cut in school spending the year before. Scott also began a "listening tour" at schools around the state, saying he wanted to make changes to student testing as a way of improving schools.

Before he entered the 2010 race, Scott funded a public campaign to oppose President Barack Obama's efforts to reform health care.

After jumping in the race, Scott immediately started spending millions of his own money on TV commercials introducing himself to voters as a conservative outsider. Scott won despite repeated questions about his leadership of Columbia/HCA, a hospital conglomerate that was accused by the federal government of massive Medicaid and Medicare fraud while he was CEO in the 1990s. He was forced out by the company's board in 1997 but landed with a severance package worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He overcame the specter of the fraud by asserting that as a successful businessman he was qualified to create private-sector jobs and turn around the economy.

His biggest promise was to create 700,000 new jobs in seven years by making Florida more business-friendly. Scott has taken credit for Florida's unemployment decreasing steadily since he took office, though the drop in the unemployment rate is also due to a natural recovery of the economy and, to some extent, people leaving the job market.

American Conservative Union Rating: Not rated

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: Not rated

Campaigns

Rick Scott won his August 2014 primary, he will face Charlie Crist in November.

(Last updated by The Associated Press on September 5, 2014.)

Last updated 12:16am December 2, 2016