Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The August 28 primary is fast approaching. The ballot is packed with choices for state and local offices including a U.S. Senate seat pitting out-going Florida governor Rick Scott against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the General Election in November.
Nelson is seeking a fourth term. Scott has served two terms as governor but cannot run for re-election because of term limits.
Before Scott’s name appears on the November ballot, he has to win the primary against Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a California-based business owner and real estate developer and Reform Party candidate for President of the United States in 2016.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
Sen. Nelson has vast knowledge of Florida issues and in addition to being a three-term incumbent, he was state treasurer and insurance commissioner before reaching the Senate. He does not face any challengers in his party’s primary.
Gov. Scott has the backing of President Donald Trump, but the race is expected to be an expensive one.
Sen. Nelson railed at Scott recently, contending that he does not believe Scott is telling the truth about his investments, or the investments of first lady Ann Scott.
Scott, a multi-millionaire businessman who once led a major health care company that was investigated for Medicare fraud, has maintained that the bulk of his wealth is maintained independently in a blind trust.
But the Republican governor was required to submit a detailed financial disclosure to the U.S. Senate that showed that his family is much richer than Scott has been reporting to state authorities. That disclosure also revealed for the first time the holdings of Ann Scott. The new filings also showed that both Scott and his wife have invested in companies that are affected by decisions made by state government.
During his three runs for office, Scott has used his wealth to help bankroll his campaigns. Scott in late June reported to state officials that his own net worth was more than $232 million. While the Senate report he turned in in July does not require exact amounts, it lists that there are at least $170 million worth of assets held by Ann Scott.
Scott, who does not accept a salary and uses a family jet to travel, first built his fortune as the head of the hospital giant Columbia/HCA. He was forced out of the job amid a federal investigation into fraud. Although Scott was never charged with any wrongdoing, the company paid a then-record $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud.
During his first run in 2010, Scott released his tax returns and a lengthy list of business holdings. Shortly after he took office, he received permission from the state ethics commission to set up a blind trust to remove direct control over his finances in an effort to avoid possible conflicts. But the trust is managed by a company that includes a longtime business associate of Scott.
Scott and his campaign have maintained that the trust is managed by an “independent financial professional” and the rules prevent any specific assets or value of those assets from being disclosed to the governor.
Politico Florida reported that Ann Scott gave a loan worth between $100,000 and $250,000 to Cathy Gellatley, who worked for more than a decade at Richard L. Scott Investments, LLC, the governor’s Naples-based investment firm, and is now an accountant at Hollow Brook Wealth Management. The New York-based investment management firm employs the trustee who oversees Scott’s trust.
Ann Scott, in a statement released by the campaign, said she lent the money to Gellatley because she is a long-time friend.
HOW TO VOTE
There are three ways to cast your ballot.
Early voting, vote-by-mail ballot and in person on Election Day.
If you are planning to vote early, click the links below to find the list of open early voting locations.
Early voting ends in both counties on Sunday August 26.
The primary is Tuesday August 28.
It’s best to know who you are going to vote for before you fill out your ballot, so why not give the ballot a once over before you head to the polls.
For more on Campaign 2018, click here.
For more voter information, FAQ’s and helpful links, click here.
To see candidate interviews on CBSMiami.com, click here.