Scott attends U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem, latest stop on whirlwind schedule

by | May 14, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott is in Jerusalem for Monday morning’s opening of the new U.S. embassy in Israel. His trip is his third to Israel as governor, the most recent was a trade mission in December on which he announced his supported for the controversial move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The trip is the latest for Scott who has been on a whirlwind campaign journey since he announced he was officially entering the race for the U.S. Senate a little over a month ago.

He recently tweeted about making 30 campaign stops during his first 30 days on the campaign trail.

One thing is certain, Scott has not wasted any time gearing-up for his run to unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Whether it is on the campaign trail or the political airwaves, Scott and his team have been at full throttle, aggressively spending $5 million on television spots with another $3 million in spots coming from groups that support Scott.

In another sign of both its aggressive campaign strategy and the importance being placed on Puerto Rican voters, the Scott campaign unveiled its latest television spot (see below) Monday morning. The ad, which is in Spanish, is called “Presente.” It’s scheduled to run in the Tampa and Orlando markets in what the campaign calls “a major ad purchase.”

The spot focuses on Scott’s pledge to turnaround the state’s economy when he first ran for governor in 2011, and his continued support of the Puerto Rican people who live here in Florida, as well as on the island, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last fall.

The ad features testimonials by members of the Puerto Rican community here in the Sunshine State.

“I’m supporting Governor Rick Scott because the truth is that when Puerto Ricans needed the help, he was the first to be there,” said Jeannie Calderin.

Nelson is not running any television ads and has been slow in responding to Scott’s campaign game blitz, which might account for Scott’s standing in a poll conducted last week by Florida Atlantic University showing the governor leading Nelson by 4 percentage points — 44 percent to 40 percent. That reflects a 6 point swing for Scott since the last FAU poll conducted in February.

Scott’s aggressive push on the campaign trail has also been reflected in his fundraising efforts.

In the first three weeks after announcing, Scott managed to raise $3.2 million. That’s the same amount Nelson reported raising in the first three months of 2018 for a campaign that is expected to be the most expensive in U.S. Senate history. Scott has reportedly told his supporters he’ll need at least $110 million to win the seat.

And Scott has the personal funds to help support his campaign. He spent $73 million of his own money in his first run for governor in 2011, a fact not lost on Nelson and his supporters.

“Of course I’m not taking it lightly,” Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times. “This is what we expected. He has unlimited wealth. I have to be smarter, faster, quicker.”

Nelson appears to be lacking in being faster and quicker. Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Al Cardenas told GateHouse Media Services in a Monday story that the quick start is strategic for Scott, who used the same approach in his races for governor.

“I think the governor is realizing that he has to get out there and define himself as a candidate before his opponent does that to him,” said Al Cardenas, a former Florida Republican Party chairman, and a lobbyist in Washington and Florida.

Before leaving for Israel this weekend,  Scott proclaimed Monday as Florida’s Celebration of Israel’s 70th Independence Day, recognizing the close relationship between Israel and Florida.

This week’s trip to Israel is an official state visit for Scott to show his support of Israel, but you can be sure the political ramifications of his visit are on the minds of his political advisers.


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