Bill Nelson will need a trick up his sleeve to hold onto his U.S. Senate seat in November. His campaign just ran into the frightening reality of Rick Scott's fundraising freight train.
The Republican governor and Nelson's challenger says he raised an astounding $3.2 million in just three weeks, when it took Democrat Nelson an entire quarter to raise very close to the same amount.
"The news is meant as a warning shot to Democrats about how quickly Scott can raise money," The Hill newspaper wrote Monday, "even before putting his personal wealth into the campaign."
“It is clear Americans are ready to see a change in Washington,” Scott said in a statement released by his campaign. “I appreciate the support of everyone who has helped us reach this incredible announcement today, but this is just the start. I look forward to continuing to tell Floridians why we need to get rid of the career politicians and make Washington work for us.”
The campaign press statement notes that the total "doesn't include contributions made by Scott himself."
"That's the scary part," Washington political analyst Zeke Casey told Sunshine State News. "This is the same as saying, 'You know how much money I can and do put into my races and I haven't even started to tap my own well.'
"Keeping Nelson competitive in Florida is going to suck money out of other competitive races the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) needs to prop up," said Casey.
Some of the $3.4 million Nelson brought in for the first quarter of 2018 came from individual donors, according to POLITICO, but much of it was gleaned through lucrative funding agreements he has with the DSCC and a host of Senate Democrats also facing tough election fights in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
POLITICO says the DSCC will go after the wealthy former healthcare executive with gusto. "It has already dropped a five-figure digital ad buy hitting Scott for what it calls his 'self-serving politics.' Democrats are trying to build a narrative that Scott has used his eight years in the governor’s office for self-gain," the news outlet claims.
"Good luck with that," replies Casey, commenting on the DSCC's campaign strategy. "Gov. Scott has been visible, he's built a strong economy, shepherded Florida through one disaster after another and mopped up afterward. Meanwhile, half of the Sunshine State doesn't know who Bill Nelson is."
Meanwhile, Camille Gallo, spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, admitted she was having fun on this Monday. "Someone get Bill Nelson a hype-man, quick," she said. "Numbers don't lie and Gov. Scott's impressive fundraising haul proves Floridians want change this November instead of some do-nothing career politician like Bill Nelson."