To say that Florida Sen. Rick Scott has lost some of his popularity among his fellow Republicans may be understating it. That’s not because Scott visited New Hampshire to say that President Joe Biden was “unwell” and “incapacitated”; Republicans are absolutely fine with that. It’s not because Scott is putting public servants in real physical danger by saying that IRS employees are ““willing to kill” their neighbors. Republicans are cool with that, too.
What’s bothering Republicans at the moment is something Kerry Eleveld wrote about back in April, but which his party seems to have just discovered: Rick Scott is only in this thing to help Rick Scott. That’s true when it comes to how he runs his political campaign, and it’s even more true when it comes to how he runs everyone else’s campaign.
Because—shocker—Republicans are just figuring out that the guy responsible for the greatest Medicare fraud in history is just another in a line of Florida-based con artists. While the rest of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) learns that someone has emptied their massive war chest and left them facing a fall campaign funded by lint and mothballs, Scott has decided to take a little salt and rub it right into that wound … with a big vacation in Italy.
As The Washington Post reported earlier this week, the NRSC was forced to cancel $10 million in TV bookings in critical states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. These spots are getting canceled despite the fact that Republicans secured heavy discounts by booking commercial slots early. Why are they canceling these spots after bragging about taking in a record $173 million in funding for this election cycle? Because … “the committee has burned through nearly all of [available funds], with the NRSC’s cash on hand dwindling to $28.4 million by the end of June.”
Where did the money go? It didn’t go into ads. Of the missing $145 million, just $23 million went to traditional ads on television, radio, and print. Another $21 million went to “text messages.” Which certainly seems like an extraordinary expense for something that is supposed to represent a huge cost savings by targeting messages to followers rather than blasting out ads over traditional mediums.
But even that $21 million may be more understandable than the next largest expense, which is $12 million in American Express credit card payments. Those payments went to … no one knows.
In the words of one Republican consultant, “If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired and investigated. The way this money has been burned, there needs to be an audit or investigation because we’re not gonna take the Senate now and this money has been squandered. It’s a rip-off.”
From his mouth to the voter’s ears.
It’s not just the dollars that are concerning Republicans when it comes to the fall midterm elections. As the chair of the NRSC, Scott has been largely responsible for selecting which candidates would get the party’s backing in the primaries. Republicans just now seem to be waking up to the fact that Scott went out and recruited a stack of wild-eyed Scott-style fanatics whose connection to the real world is more than a little tenuous. When Republicans talk about being concerned by their weak slate of candidates going into the fall, Scott—and Donald Trump—are the guys most responsible for that slate.
If that’s not enough, Scott is continuing to demonstrate his disdain for dollars, with what Axios reports is a fabulous holiday in Italy. Scott is still pumping out his inane criticisms of President Biden, but somehow complaining about Biden going home to Delaware.
It’s not clear if Scott means the southern border of Sicily, or the tippy toe of Calabria. In any case, his statement just lacks that certain ghoul-in-the-street appeal when coming from a luxury yacht anchored in the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean.
It begs the question: Is Vacation Voldemort putting this trip on his NRSC American Express?
All of it is leading Republicans to complain that this Florida Republican con man is even worse than those other Florida Republican con men. And it definitely means that Republican chances to retake the Senate, which once seemed like a sure thing, are starting to feel softer than fine Italian leather stitched over custom pillows under a gentle Adriatic breeze.
Fortunately for Democrats … Rick Scott is one of theirs. His failings represent an opening, but it could all be wasted if Senate candidates don’t have the funds available to snap up that ad space and other opportunities that Republicans are stuck drooling over from the sidelines.
In particular, Democrats have great candidates in three critical seats:
- North Carolina: Cheri Beasley
- Pennsylvania: John Fetterman
- Wisconsin: Mandela Barnes
Help them lock down their races, write the last chapter on Mitch McConnell, and turn Joe Manchin back into a face in the crowd by making a small donation to keep these candidates on the air.
Even one dollar now will help “Turn these seats blue in ‘22!”
Then we can all sit back and watch Democrats get things done, while Republicans try to extradite Rick Scott from his yacht. I hear that $12 million will even cover some crudité.
Abortion rights, climate change, and gun safety are all on the ballot this fall. Click to start writing Postcards to Democratic-leaning voters in targeted House districts today.