Moneyman Rick Scott Beats Bill McCollum, Will His Millions Get Him in Florida Governor's Mansion?

Rick-Scott.jpgMoney talks.  And it certainly did that Tuesday night for Richard L. "Rick" Scott.

He spent $50 million of his own money to defeat Bill McCollum in a Republican primary election in Florida.  McCollum is Florida's Attorney-General.  He spent $20 million.

According to an incomplete midnight count by the Associated Press, Scott garnered 47% of the vote; McCollum 37%.

Both campaigned on promises to create jobs.  An old refrain.  Talk to President Barack Obama about that one.

Bill-McCollum.jpgMcCollum has been in Florida politics for 20 years, much of it as a loser. In 2000, he lost a U.S. Senate race to Democrat Bill Nelson, a former astronaut.   In 2004, he lost again to Mel Martinez in the GOP U.S. Senate primary.  In 2006, he finally won one as Attorney General.

Scott is the controversial former CEO of Dallas-based Columbia/Hospital Corp. of America, the largest for-profit health care conglomeration in the United States when it was formed in 1987.

Scott was forced to resign as CEO in 1997 after the FBI raided the business offices of 31 hospitals in the Columbia/HCA empire. Agents were investigating the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. annals.  Columbia/HCA later paid $1.7 million in fines. Scott wasn't indicted.

So much for background.

The Scott-McCollum contest was billed as the most expensive primary election in Florida history. It was the hottest race in the country Tuesday. Even the New York Times flashed an online bulletin before midnight.

In the Nov. 2 race for governor, Scott goes up against Alex Sink, Florida's chief financial officer.  She easily defeated Lawton Chiles III Tuesday, capturing 77 percent of the vote. Chiles ran as an independent.  He is the son of the late former Florida Gov. Lawton "Walkin" Chiles.

Will Scott's millions put him in the Governor's mansion in Tallahassee?  We think not.

Mrs. Sink, although not a 100 percent favorite with many Florida voters, will beat him.

Why and how?  Her supporters will promote her heavily as the first woman governor of Florida.

Sink is married to Florida attorney and politician Bill McBride who was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida in 2002.

In the other closely watched, money-themed Senate race Tuesday, Congressman Kendrick Meek defeated Miami real estate developer Jeff Greene. The margin was 57%. Greene spent $27 million of his own money.  Meek laid out $7 million.

Like Scott, McCollum and the President, Meek and Greene campaigned on promises to create jobs for Florida's 10 percent unemployed. That number is closer to 18 percent as an effective count, according to most national pollsters.

Meek now faces Republican Marco Rubio and fence-sitting Gov. Charlie Crist Nov. 2.  Rubio was unopposed in the Tuesday primary.

Who will win?  Rubio.  Crist's political career will be over. So will McCollum's.

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