It's no secret that Sen. Jack Latvala - the Pinellas County Republican who is now the Senate budget chief - has had up and down relationships with a lot of people in the political process, including the current governor.
But Latvala (shown here campaigning for Gov. Rick Scott in 2014) is now becoming more and more aligned with Scott in his ongoing feud with House Republicans over the fate of the state's tourism marketing program and the state's economic development agency.
Latvala has already sounded off that he does not agree with the House approach - which is to completely eliminate Enterprise Florida and place tight restrictions on Visit Florida. This ongoing disagreement threatens to prevent the GOP-controlled Legislature from passing a new state budget.
But it was still a tad surprising to see Scott - caught on camera last week - showering Latvala with effusive praise. (Assuming this was doing during Scott's visit to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.)
"If we're going to win this year, it's because of Sen Jack Latvala,'' Scott said. "He's going to stand with us all the way through. And he’s going to take a lot of arrows for doing it. I’m going to tell you he’s got broad shoulders and he can do it."
Contrast that from just one day earlier where during an event held at a Tallahassee manufacturing plant Scott castigated Republican State. Rep. Halsey Beshears, a Monticello Republican, while praising two Tallahassee Democrats for voting against the House bills that target Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. It's been part of a Scott strategy in recent weeks to call-out House Republican members by name in front of local television cameras.
Regardless of the philosophical debate underlying business incentives and aiding corporations and whether it helps create jobs - a debate that unites House Republicans with progressive Democrats - the real story playing out amid this feud is that Florida's Republican structure is deeply divided and there's no signs that's going to change anytime soon.
Other governors have had their differences with members of their own party - i.e. then-Gov. Jeb Bush in a fierce struggle with Senate Republicans over medical malpractice laws - but Bush wasn't running political ads that went after legislators responsible for helping him carry out his agenda. Nor was Bush refusing to raise money to help the Republican Party of Florida. (Note - Scott stopped raising money for the RPOF ahead of the 2016 elections - leaving that task primarily to House Republicans including House Speaker Richard Corcoran.)
But that's where we are now.
And this rift is already having reverberations as we head into the 2018 elections still seemingly so far away.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam - who has his own share of dust-ups with Scott - was by Scott's side this week as Scott held a public rally in the Capitol where he again criticized the House approach. Putnam is of course seen as a likely candidate for governor, but the speculation has been that Scott wants someone else to follow him into the governor's mansion. (As in someone with a business background...) Despite all that, Putnam was with Scott this week.
So now we have two potential candidates for governor - Latvala and Putnam - sticking up for the governor, while another potential candidate for governor - Corcoran - is not.
Of course one could say, what does it matter?
Scott will likely run for U.S. Senate and has been known to avoid getting involved in primaries. Yeah, but...Scott has a good relationship with President Donald Trump. Scott is also now in a leadership position with the Republican Governors Association, the entity responsible for helping Republicans across the nation. Scott polls well among GOP voters in the state and if he chose to get involved in a primary it could have an impact.
Corcoran in the end could decide not to run for governor, or he could mount a fierce campaign from the right where he goes after Putnam and others as being part of the corrupt process he says now controls Tallahassee.
But before all that happens - we will have to see who - in the words of Gov. Scott will "win" the debate over Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
That may say a lot about who has a winning political future.