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Criticizing 'career politicians,' Gov. Rick Scott says he's running for Senate

Lame-duck governor challenging Democrat Bill Nelson for Senate seat

Republican Gov. Rick Scott announces that he's running for U.S. Senate during a rally in Orlando.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott announces that he's running for U.S. Senate during a rally in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Republican Gov. Rick Scott is running for Senate, setting up an expensive race against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Scott made the announcement Monday in Orlando, eight years to the day after he first announced he was running for governor.

The lame-duck governor said he may challenge Nelson right after President Donald Trump was elected. Trump has urged Scott to run.

During his announcement, Scott criticized "career politicians" and called for term limits for members of Congress.

"We have term limits in this state," Scott said in front of a crowd of supporters. "We have in most states term limits for governor. We have term limits for president, which we should. Why don't we have it for Congress?"

Scott is a multi-millionaire who never ran for office before he ran for governor in 2010. He rode into office as part of the tea party movement and called for massive budget and tax cuts. But he was forced to scale back his plans amid opposition from the GOP-controlled Legislature. He also changed his hard-line positions on immigration.

"We've got to bring new ideas, fresh-thinking, and we've got to change the direction of this country, for our benefit, not for the benefit of career politicians in Washington, D.C.," Scott said.

Scott embraced the fact that he was a political outsider when he arrived in Tallahassee.

"You know, I didn't fit into Tallahassee because I didn't play the insider game," Scott said. "I never intended to fit into Tallahassee and guess what? I'm not going to fit into Washington, either."

Nelson is the only statewide elected Democrat and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000.

Scott was first elected governor in 2010 but cannot run again because of term limits.

"Let's stop sending talkers to Washington," Scott said. "Let's send some doers to Washington."