While Republicans are bubbling with optimism that the midterm elections will result in big gains for the GOP in the House and Senate, the Democratic Governors Association says its party will hold its own in gubernatorial contests this November.
And there are few, if any, gubernatorial races the DGS feels better about than Florida, where conservative Republican and “tea party” candidate Rick Scott faces Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer.
DGA Executive Director Nathan Daschle, in a conference call with reporters Wednesday, called Scott the Democrats’ “dream candidate” because of his extreme conservative views and glaring business-related problems.
“There is no state that I think better represents what’s at stake in 2010 because it is an open seat governor’s race with a very, very clear contrast between the parties,” said Daschle, as reported on a St. Petersburg Times blog. “It is obviously a 2012 presidential battleground. And it’s also a state that is going to undergo redistricting, and the governor plays a very important role in that. So Florida is in some sense the trifecta of all that is important about 2010.”
Daschle went on to say that Scott’s tenure as the former head of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain will haunt his campaign. The multi-million dollar candidate was ousted as head of the medical group in 1997 in the midst of one of the largest Medicare and Medicare fraud scandals in history. The company eventually reached a plea agreement with the U.S. government that led to it paying more than $1.7 billion in fines, back payments and lawsuit settlements.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better candidate to run against, simply because Rick Scott, I think, represents all that is going on in the Republican Party right now and has a very clear contrast with Alex Sink,” Daschle said. “Rick Scott is the (Bermie) Madoff of Medicare … I don’t know how he can credibly say he wants to be the governor of this state.”