Rick Scott may not be the darling of the state’s conservative establishment, but his victory in the Republican governor’s primary yesterday may be a boon to the beleaguered Republican Party of Florida.
The RPOF was officially neutral in the governor’s race, but it was clear that the party’s top officials backed McCollum, and used their influence and clout to raise money for McCollum’s 527 group, the Florida First Initiative. Meanwhile the RPOF was struggling with $400,000 debt inherited from its indicted former chairman, Jim Greer, a profligate spender who authorized dozens of credit cards for party officials as well as allegedly siphoning cash to a ghost company.
Scott, who listed his net worth as $218 million on his financial disclosure form, spent more than $40 million on the primary alone. No one expects his spending to stop in the general election, as he goes up against Democrat Alex Sink and independent Bud Chiles. If he continues self-funding his campaign, that would free up the RPOF to focus its fundraising efforts on other races, like RPOF chairman John Thrasher’s reelection bid for the Florida Senate, maybe?