Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Scott's Wealthychanges Landscape

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Scott's Wealthychanges Landscape

Article excerpt

CAPITAL COMMENT

Gov. Rick Scott is the wealthiest individual to ever hold a statewide office in Florida.

In his latest financial disclosure, which all state officials must file each year by July 1, Scott reported a net worth of $146.8 million at the end of 2014, with income just under $10 million from his investments.

His actual net worth and income are likely higher when you add in his wife and family's separate assets and income, which Scott does not have to report under the state disclosure laws.

The fact that Scott, whose wealth was built on his creation of the Columbia/HCA health care conglomerate in the 1990s, is rich is hardly new news. When he first filed for office in the summer of 2010, Scott reported an initial net worth of $218 million.

But Scott's wealth has altered the Florida electoral

landscape and it has become a recurrent theme in his successful political career, which includes two winning bids for governor and a potential U.S. Senate race in 2018. That's not bad for a guy who had never held political office and was an unknown candidate when he jumped into the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010.

Scott's political astuteness has been a factor in his success. You only have to look at the candidacy of Jeff Greene, the billionaire Democratic candidate, who never made it out of a U.S. Senate primary in 2010 despite his wealth, while Scott adroitly linked himself to the rising Tea Party movement and beat two incumbent Cabinet members on the way to the governor's mansion.

Of course, money was a big factor in Scott's 2010 win. He and his wife essentially self-financed his candidacy with more than $70 million, allowing him to oust Attorney General Bill McCollum, who had been a fixture in state GOP politics for decades, in the primary and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in a narrow general election victory. …

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