Shortly after Rick Scott jumped into the race for governor this past spring, Republican Party Chairman John Thrasher met with the Naples businessman.
Thrasher vowed to stay neutral in the GOP primary for governor and even offered Scott the same deal that the party offered Attorney General Bill McCollum: You can have the party pay some of your campaign expenses if you raise money for the party.
Scott said no.
Since that cordial first meeting, a lot has changed.
And it is becoming clear that with less than a month to go before Election Day that a Scott victory could do more than shake up the governor’s race. It could bring substantial upheaval for Republicans hoping to take advantage of voter anger at Democrats and the White House.
If Scott wins, it would be the second time in less than a year that the de facto leader of the party had either left or got pushed aside. Republicans would now have to turn to a largely self-funded candidate to help raise money for the party during the crucial fall elections. Plus, Scott has his own team of people who have little reason for allegiance to the existing party leaders.
Scott insisted during a campaign swing through Northwest Florida on Monday that there’s no reason for Republican leaders to fear him winning the primary.
“I am not going to make my decisions based on emotion,’’ said Scott.
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