The recent spate of natural disasters is helping the two men who will likely square-off in next year’s U.S. Senate race in Florida to keep their names in the public eye.
That’s especially true for Gov. Rick Scott, who appears to be benefiting in the polls from the attention he has received during the recent hurricanes.
Scott traveled to Washington, D.C., Friday to meet with President Donald Trump after spending Thursday in Puerto Rico, which was decimated by Hurricane Maria last week. Scott’s office says he was invited by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló to discuss how Florida can help in the response and recovery efforts.
The governor is expected to brief Trump on yesterday’s visit and discuss the ongoing recovery efforts in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which struck the state nearly three weeks ago.
Due to the nature of their positions Scott has been more visible during the recent disasters than current Sen. Bill Nelson, who Scott is expected to run against next November.
While Scott was meeting with Puerto Rican officials Thursday, Nelson released a video message urging the military be directed to take over the recovery efforts in the U.S. territory. He paraphrased a line made famous by Dade County emergency management official Kate Hale after Hurricane Andrew devastated that county 25 years ago: “Where is the calvary?”
“There is a crisis in Puerto Rico where food, water, fuel and medicine is sitting at the docks and it’s not getting out to the remote parts,” Nelson said in the video.
“The situation calls for an immediate response by the U.S. military to provide distribution and security to these remote areas.”
But as governor, Scott’s actions more directly impact the lives of Floridians–especially during times of disaster.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas last month, Scott mobilized state Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers to help with the rescue of flood victims there. He was out front during Irma, urging Floridians to prepare for the storm and then crisscrossing the state as he led the state’s recovery efforts in the storm’s aftermath. And, now, he is involved with helping Puerto Rico in its recovery from Maria.
A poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce that was released this week indicates Scott has benefited politically from the work he has done during this series of natural disasters. The poll shows Scott leading Nelson, 47 percent to 45 percent.
The Florida Chamber’s poll was conducted by telephone and included 615 likely voters. It was conducted from Sept. 17 through Sept. 24 by telephone, a week or more after Irma had hit the state. The survey has a four percent margin of error.
Scott has not said whether he will run for Senate, but it is widely believed that he will.
And, while dealing with natural disasters might not be the way that Scott would prefer to strengthen his standing in the polls, you can’t argue with the fact that he is scoring political points with voters for the way he has performed as governor during these trying times.