TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Monday’s showdown between Florida State University and Auburn University will also include a showdown between political rivals Governor Rick Scott and his chief re-election rival, Charlie Crist. The two are cashing in on the BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena.
Scott and former GOP governor Crist, hoping to move back into the governor’s mansion as a Democrat, are headed to California to root for the Seminoles in their match-up against the Tigers.
They — and other Florida politicians — will shake down the campaign money tree while they’re at it.
On Monday night, the Scott and his wife, Ann, are hosting a $50,000-per-couple fundraiser in a private box at the Rose Bowl.
Crist, an FSU alum who graduated in 1978, will also be at the game. The following night, Crist will be the guest of honor at an event hosted by entertainment moguls including Ken Solomon, founder of the Tennis Channel.
Both the present and former governor expressed enthusiastic support for FSU.
Scott included the championship as the third of his New Year’s resolutions.
“Win the BCS National Championship game and bring the Coach’s Trophy home to Florida. Go Noles!” Scott said in a press release issued late Friday evening.
“This team is special, incredible,” Crist said in an email Friday. “Can’t wait to watch them bring the BCS title back to Florida. It’s our year. Go Noles!”
FSU’s chance at recapturing the national title has goaded politicians, including Scott, into some light-hearted wagers.
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is backing FSU, where his brother Drew played football. Weatherford’s successor, Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, has family ties with Auburn.
“It’s ON! @SteveCrisafulli & I have settled on [BCS] bet. Loser must wear winner’s team colors for official FL House photo. Go Noles!” Weatherford tweeted this week.
Scott is betting a Key lime pie from Kermit’s in Key West that the Noles will recapture the national title; in return, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has put a Toomer’s Lemonade on Auburn’s chances.
“Florida is the nation’s premier state for football. Florida State has had a great undefeated season, and I look forward to an exciting game and some ice cold lemonade from Toomer’s. Go Noles,” Scott said in a press release.
Before he even leaves Florida, though, Scott’s setting his sights on bagging some quail to plump up his already-hefty campaign war chest.
Scott is hosting a $15,000-a-head quail hunt at the lush, 4,800-acre Honey Lake Plantation in Greenville on Saturday. The event includes a private dinner Friday night with Scott and his wife at the plantation’s lodge.
The private quail hunt event continues Scott’s use of outdoor adventurers for fundraising.
In October, Scott used Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as bait for a $5,000-a-head fishing and dinner fundraiser at the Emerald Grande in Destin.
Not all the fundraising exploits have gone off as planned. Scott scrapped a $25,000-a-person alligator hunt in September after the private hunt went viral on social media.
“The News Service of Florida’s Dara Kam and Jim Turner contributed to this report.”