Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Last night, Florida Governor Rick Scott pulled off an unlikely feat; defeating an incumbent for the United States Senate.
In many ways, the time was ripe for a change. The incumbent, Senator Bill Nelson, had been in power since 2001 and never passed one major piece of legislation nor voiced an innovative agenda for the country. The empty suit description was finally starting to stick.
In the meantime, Governor Rick Scott delivered a perfect example of conservative management with great results. Throughout his tenure, Florida's economy has been among the strongest in the nation. The state has been either the friendliest or the second friendliest, business state in the country.
And if Florida was a mecca for business expansion, it was largely due to Governor Scott's resolve to make it so. Few governors have been so aggressive in business recruitment as Governor Rick Scott. Under him, taxes have been cut recurrently and an amendment to the Florida Constitution submitted by the Governor and approved by the voters will make it harder for the legislature to raise taxes.
And then there are the hurricanes. Governor Scott's management of hurricane preparedness and response has been rivaled only by the amazing performance of Governor Jeb Bush. At one point, Governor Scott found himself organizing assets, not only in Florida but also in Puerto Rico. Even at the end, amidst running a tough campaign for the Senate, Governor Scott's response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael was stellar.
And then, of course, there is President Trump. The President's numerous appearances in Florida were definitely a factor as the conservative right was driven to the ballot box, ultimately pulling Scott across the finish line.
And adding to Nelson's ineptness, how many times did we hear President Trump say that he had never even met Senator Nelson while hearing every day from Governor Scott during times of turmoil? Regardless of President Trump's influence, he never would have been pulled Governor Scott across the senatorial finish line if it weren't for Scott's favorable standing in his state.
Unquestionably, Governor Scott's successful election is a testament to a well-run campaign and great messaging, but in the end, his election was a reward for being an incredible governor. Hopefully, he'll end up making as great a senator as he did a governor.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.