Rick Scott Ignores Fla. Early-Vote Mess to Stump With Romney in town where Travon Martin was shot [View all]
Mitt Romney's final pre-election visit to Florida Monday morning included a surprise guest: the state's Republican governor Rick Scott. "Tomorrow night, Florida is going to go big for Mitt Romney, and it'll be a precursor to what happens in the country," Scott told the crowd in his warm-up moments before Romney took the stage.
You might expect a presidential candidate to stump with a friendly swing-state governor on the eve of a tight election. But Scott's no ordinary governor, as we've written before. The political novice and former health care executive, who pumped $70 million of his own money into his successful 2010 campaign, has alienated conservatives and progressives alike with a failed costly legal challenge to Obamacare, a failed attempt to charge welfare recipients for their pee, and threatened cuts to disabled care, liberal arts education, rape counseling, and tuberculosis treatment during "the worst outbreak in 20 years."
A mid-October PPP poll, taken at the height of Republicans' post-Denver debate bounce, found 37 percent of respondents approving of Rick Scott and 46 disapproving. Incredibly, that was a near-all-time high in popularity for Scott. When asked if they'd vote for him or a generic Democrat in the next election, the no-name Dem won, 45-43. Numbers like those have led PPP to call Scott "the most toxic of the raft of Tea Party governors."
But Romney and Ryan's efforts to pull out all the stops Monday morning could potentially backfire. Romney's rally was held at the airport in Sanford, not far from where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed last February—a tragedy that Scott bungled, and that brought national scrutiny to the state's draconian "stand your ground" deadly-force law. That law was sponsored by the same Republican legislator who helped shepherd Scott's bill to shorten voter-hours last year.
"We need every single vote in Florida," Romney told the Sanford crowd. "We can begin a better tomorrow, tomorrow." Scott's voting tactics may have assisted the ex-Massachusetts governor. But given the anti-Scott voter backlash in Florida, Romney may have just frittered away his advantage by standing with Scott in Sanford.