Washington (CNN)Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is running for the US Senate, he told Politico in an interview published Monday, setting up a serious challenge to the state’s incumbent Democrat, Bill Nelson.
“You’re probably surprised, but I’m going to announce I’m running for senator,” Scott told Politico, joking that it’s one of the worst kept secrets in the state’s political scene. “You’re shocked, right?”
Scott has served in the governor’s mansion since 2011 and has long been courted to join the Senate race.
Asked if he considers himself a “Donald Trump Republican,” Scott told Politico: “I consider myself Rick Scott. I don’t consider myself any type of anything.” The governor would not tell the publication whether the President would campaign for him.
Scott’s campaign is teasing a “big announcement” on social media. A Facebook live video published Sunday says: “TOMORROW 10 AM.” Further fueling the speculation: Scott’s chief of staff, Jackie Schutz Zeckman, announced her resignation last month, potentially positioning her for a role on a Senate campaign.
Scott is the last major Republican recruiting target on a 2018 Senate landscape that features Democrats defending seats in 10 states that Trump won in 2016. He’s been viewed as the only Republican with a chance of seriously challenging Nelson.
Scott previously won two close races for governor. He’s also shown he is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars his own money on campaigns – a trait that is especially important in Florida, a large and expensive state for television advertising.
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