Democratic Veteran Launches Campaign To Unseat Florida Republican Rick Scott

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A veteran of the U.S. Navy who undertook humanitarian aid missions in Ukraine after the Russian invasion of that country that started early last year has announced a campaign to defeat Florida GOP Senator Rick Scott, who will be on the ballot next year for his first time returning before voters. Scott won his current term by a little over one-tenth of a percentage point.

The new Democratic contender who hopes to challenge Scott, assuming he can win the primary, is Phil Ehr. Ehr previously ran against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in a general election, but in the Republican-dominated northern district, Ehr lost in that 2020 race by a substantial margin. In a video announcing his bid, Ehr focused on his career and on directly challenging Scott, who he maligned for his past threats to Social Security and Medicare. Scott previously promoted an agenda under which many major legislative moves would need to be approved again by members of the House and Senate on a yearly basis, and this schematic was widely interpreted as threatening the viability of those benefit programs by potentially making them subject to yearly political whims.

Scott contested this reading of his plan and eventually provided clarification. Scott’s plan was unpopular among Senate Republicans, with even Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the long-serving leader of the chamber’s members hailing from that party, distancing himself.

In the announcement video, Ehr also linked Scott to Trump. Rick Scott was in the minority of Senators who voted against Congressionally certifying the entirety of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win when the matter came before the House and Senate. Even Marco Rubio, Florida’s other Republican Senator, didn’t go that far. Scott has also previously led the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is an official party organization that deals with Senate races. Democrats added a seat to their majority in the Senate in elections during which Scott held that role.