“The Republican Party is going to come back together, [but] Rick Scott is going to hold the cards in terms of the reform that the party needs to undergo that has caused a lot of consternation among party faithful,” Mr. Smith said. “The question is, what does Rick Scott want out of it, as opposed to if Bill McCollum was the nominee, what did the party leaders want from Bill McCollum?”
“I still have serious questions, and I have had them throughout the time that I’ve had the very brief acquaintanceship with Rick Scott about issues of his character, his integrity, his honesty,” he told reporters Thursday.
Mr. McCollum’s reluctance is understandable, giving the acerbic nature of his primary fight. He hammered Mr. Scott over his business dealings over a chain of health care clinics Mr. Scott co-founded that the state is investigating for possible overbilling. Mr. Scott fired back, accusing Mr. McCollum of abusing his position as attorney general by using state investigators to harass the company and its employees.
The party also wasn’t shy to bash Mr. Scott. Only three days before the primary election, Mr. Thrasher publicly chastised Mr. Scott for having “orchestrated a multifaceted campaign of misinformation in an effort to mislead Florida voters and confuse the facts” regarding the arrest and indictment of former party leader Mr. Greer.
Yet most, if not all, will be forgiven if Mr. Scott wins in November.
“Everyone else in the Republican Party of Florida has genuflected to Rick Scott. They have gotten down on bended knee and said, ‘Uh, let’s put this behind us,’ because politically they’re very similar, Rick Scott and Bill McCollum,” Mr. Smith said.
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Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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