MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The November 6 General Election is fast approaching and one of the most highly watched races is the U.S. Senate seat pitting out-going Florida governor Rick Scott against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.
Nelson is seeking a fourth term. Scott has served two terms as governor but cannot run for re-election because of term limits.
Scott has received support from President Donald Trump, which is something that helped many in the GOP win their primary elections.
This is Nelson’s toughest challenge since winning his seat in 2000. He easily defeated U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in 2006, when Harris committed a series of embarrassing blunders, and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, who proved to be a weak campaigner without much substance beyond sharing the name of his father, former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III. Nelson beat Harris by 22 percentage points and Mack by 13 points.
Rick Scott is a different story. Scott has more money, a stronger campaign team and the state is in much better economic shape than when he took office in 2011.
Scott hit Nelson with a string of negative ads, making him appear to be a career politician with no accomplishments.
Until recently Nelson’s campaign hadn’t put up much of a counterattack. He has railed at Scott, contending 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 healthcare 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 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.
Recent polls show the race as virtually tied.
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(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)