A primary challenger to Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida called the lawmaker an “absolute ineffective crook” whose career has been sustained by his personal wealth in a Monday interview with The Hill.
Keith Gross, an attorney and former restaurant business owner, has launched a campaign to challenge Scott in the state’s Republican senatorial primary in 2024. During an interview, Gross called Scott an ineffective senator who has “accomplished absolutely nothing” during his career, according to a report by The Hill.
“Rick has done a really great job of marketing. But if you separate his rhetoric from his record — ‘the wrecking ball in D.C.?’ Seriously, he’s accomplished absolutely nothing in five years in the U.S. Senate,” Gross said. “It’s because he’s an absolute ineffective crook, basically. If I thought there was an awesome senator in that seat … I would be looking at a different seat. Where can I make a difference?” he added.
Scott, who served two terms as the governor of Florida from 2011 to 2019, is also a wealthy businessman who founded the Columbia Hospitals Corporation in 1988, which owned hospitals in Texas. In 1994, his company merged with the Hospital Corporation of America to become Columbia/HCA, which then became the “world’s largest health care company” according to The New York Times, with Scott serving as CEO.
Scott entered the Senate after unseating Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in 2018 by a narrow margin. His tenure in the Senate has attracted attention for his conflict with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, particularly during the 2022 midterm elections, where they sparred over McConnell’s Super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, and its spending on Senate candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Scott later challenged McConnell for the conference leadership in the 118th Congress, though he was defeated by a vote of 37-10.
“He says he is the most unlikely guy in Washington, yet the entire party establishment is backing him, trying to place their thumbs on the scale,” Gross said of Scott, who is the frontrunner in the primary and has outraised Gross by nearly $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission data, with endorsements from the Club for Growth, Republican Jewish Coalition and Senate Conservatives Fund.
“[T]he biggest positive impact I know I can make is in the U.S. Senate by unseating that guy,” Gross said.
Scott’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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