Mitch Perry Report 6.17.14: Rick Scott and the power of incumbency

Posted by Mitch Perry on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Rick Scott speaks to Dotti Groover Skipper, chairwoman of the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking of West Florida on Monday.
  • Rick Scott speaks to Dotti Groover Skipper, chairwoman of the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking of West Florida on Monday.
Much has been made about how millions of dollars of campaign ads have helped boost Rick Scott's standings in his race against Charlie Crist for governor this year. If you're scoring at home, it's been approximately $12 million to zero in terms of how much the Republicans and Scott have put into the ad wars vs. Crist and the Dems (though apparently an anti-Scott TV ad paid for by the Florida Democratic Party is about to go on television).

If you want Scott to be re-elected, you've got to feel good about things. This is a governor who for the past three years has been among the most unpopular leaders in the country, has rarely if ever reached the 40s in popularity ratings, and stands roughly tied with a flawed former Republican in his bid for re-election.

But what can't be discounted is his most obvious attribute: He's the governor. In downtown Tampa yesterday morning, Scott visited The Portico, an initiative of Hyde Park United Methodist Church, with representatives from the group Selah Freedom to trumpet the fact that today he'll sign legislation increasing funding for human trafficking awareness and prevention. 

Scott was joined by Attorney General Pam Bondi, local state legislators Jamie Grant and Ross Spano, and a host of advocates fighting human trafficking, which has received lots of attention in recent years in Florida. It was a feel-good event for a good cause, and Scott was the master of ceremonies, speaking first but then sharing the dais with others who could speak about the horrors of the issue.

Similarly, Scott is running around the state every day, highlighting the money approved in this election-year budget for a cause or a transportation project or what have you. It's called the power of incumbency, and it's a pretty powerful thing indeed. It's why on average, most elected officials, be they mayors or city council members or state legislators or U.S. Senators or even presidents get re-elected more often than they are defeated. And "it's working" for Rick Scott right now.

Speaking of Charlie Crist, the Democrat opened up a new campaign field office in St. Petersburg over the weekend, and CL contributor Sam Johnson has more on that.

Speaking of Jamie Grant, the Tampa Bay area Republican and Uber enthusiast gave us his views on the latest developments between the car sharing service and the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission.

And David Jolly gave his first speech as an elected member of Congress to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg yesterday, where he had plenty of interesting things to say, including his call to fellow members of Congress to lay off any personal attacks on former POW Bowe Bergdahl.

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