Rick Scott is really mad.
Those aren’t our words, but his own. In a two-and-a-half-minute digital ad posted on his Twitter account, the former two-term governor and junior senator from Florida invoked the names of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan to condemn violent protestors associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The ad wasn’t the only one Scott released this past week. According to his political committee, he made a “significant six-figure buy” for an ad campaign in Florida in the final week before Election Day, Politico reports.
In his television ad titled “Don’t Give Up,” Scott criticizes the Democratic Party and suggests Former Vice President and Presidential Nominee Joe Biden is beholden to the party’s agenda.
“Democrats have a radical plan for America,” he says while addressing the viewer face-to-face in his signature button-down shirt and U.S. Navy cap. “Joe Biden may not even be aware of it, but Kamala Harris is.”
In the ad, the senator attacks “Medicare for All,” socialism and defunding the police—none of which Biden supports. However, each issue has become a flashpoint this year as Republicans have sought to accuse the famously moderate Democratic nominee of being a “Trojan horse” for the more progressive elements of his party.
Scott ends the ad urging voters to reject Biden and the Democrats with text on the screen saying “Vote for America.”
Television ads have been Scott’s not-so-secret weapon throughout his political career, which began with an outsider run for governor in 2010. A wealthy businessman and powerful self-fundraiser, Scott has spent around $150 million of his own money on campaigning in the last 10 years.
This isn’t his first ad buy since he became a U.S. senator. A week before the Florida presidential primary, Scott released a Spanish-language ad condemning candidate Bernie Sanders, D-VT, for his past praise of Latin American dictators Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega.
Even more notable though was a January ad campaign that aired nearly 2,000 miles northwest of Florida in the ever-important state of Iowa. He shocked the political world by launching one of his face-to-face ads in the Hawkeye State before their first-in-the-nation primary caucuses.
The Iowa ad was ostensibly an attack against Biden. However, the Scott ad buy aroused much interest as it appeared to show a political figure making his name and face more recognizable to voters in one of the most crucial states.
All of Scott’s big ads since becoming a senator, whether in Iowa or Florida, feature himself personally addressing viewers directly.
News of Scott’s most recent ad buy came shortly after Bloomberg reported that the Trump campaign would be canceling $5.5 million in Florida ad spending, another in a slew of $24 million worth of national television cuts since Labor Day.
The Republican National Committee has tried to fill the shortfall by investing $4 million of its own money in Florida TV ads during the final week as the Trump campaign focuses on pivotal battlegrounds in the Rust Belt instead.
While Scott’s campaign and the RNC’s are not officially related, Scott’s efforts may very well be an attempt to help the party and the president’s campaign, which has been running short on cash in the final days of the season.
The senator also has great personal incentive to get involved in the campaign in such a vital battleground state. Scott is reportedly interested in chairing the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2022, which would put him in a position to coordinate with powerful party donors and make him an important ally of many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate.
Beyond that point, though, it is widely rumored—if not taken as fact—that Scott has ambitions beyond Florida. Political insiders across the state anticipate that Scott, Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio may all be contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“I have to be careful about specifics,” an anonymous operative who worked for Scott told Politico, “but he has said to me, and for sure has alluded to donors, what is to come.”
A future presidential run would explain the interesting ad the senator ran in Iowa before the Democratic caucuses there. The face-to-face ad format he’s adopted both in Iowa and Florida allows viewers to get familiar with his face, voice and name, which will be advantageous going into a crowded Republican field in the next presidential cycle.
Featured image: Rick Scott at a political conference in 2011. Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/34M0rXr)
Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.