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Rick Scott rising: Re-election prospects looking brighter

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After a hard-fought 2010 battle to win the right to live in the Florida governor’s mansion, Rick Scott seemed to snub both friend and foe alike, prompting Time magazine to dub him, “America’s least popular governor.” But that’s all changing.

Scott’s unpopularity was due, in no small part, to the hard-nosed budget-slashing campaign he launched immediately upon assuming office, which included 8 percent lobbed off eduction. “I wasn’t elected to be most popular” but to make “tough decisions,” Time reported him saying in 2011.

But the times they are a-changing. Although still early yet, Scott’s re-election chances now appear, if not a certainty, at least very doable, according to the Orlando Sentinel. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-scott-campaign-cranks-20130908,0,6180147,full.story

Part of the reason is budgetary. The Democratic lineup is still gelling, especially now that it appears once-popular former Governor Charlie Crist will be entering the fray since he’s switched sides. This makes fundraising for other Democratic hopefuls more difficult.

“It’s a problem. Time’s a-wasting,” said former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who narrowly lost to Scott in 2010. She announced she will make a decision “soon,” according to the Sentinel.

“By this time four years ago, I probably had $2 [million] or $3 million already,” noted Sink.

Still another, and more important reason for Scott’s resurgence is that his hard-as-nails business approach to running government appears to be working. When he assumed office, the state faced a 10.9 percent unemployment rate — higher than the federal rate. By July, that rate shrunk to 7.1 percent — below the national rate.

In addition, Scott is announcing a $500 million tax and fee reduction, honoring a pledge he’d made to the tea party groups that helped get him elected.

The governor will be kicking off his statewide “It’s Your Money” tax cut tour on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 10:00 am at 650 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach. The next stop will be at 4:00 pm at Broward College, 111E. Las Olas Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale.

“My job is to keep doing what I got elected to do: make this the best state to work, live and play,” he said in the interview with Aaron Deslatte posted below. “I’m going to continue to work my tail off to continue to grow jobs and improve education.”

Republicans will take advantage of Florida’s economic turnaround during the 2014 election, and they assume voters will give the governor full credit.

“The narrative that he created those jobs by paying down the debt, cutting regulation, and doing the opposite of the things that happened before Scott — the results are there, and you tell the story,” said Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry.

“And it’s a fun story to tell because people get it.”

Listen to the audio interview with Gov. Scott, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.

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