Florida Gov. Rick Scott is set to make a “major announcement” on April 9 amid long-running rumors he will run for U.S. Senate, according to Jackie Schutz Zeckman, Scott’s outgoing chief of staff.
Schutz Zeckman resigned her post Monday, and longtime deputy chief of staff Brad Piepenbrink will become Scott’s new top staff. Schutz Zeckman, who would not comment further on that move or the nature of the announcement, has been with Scott since he entered politics in 2010. She started as deputy press secretary, working her way up to chief of staff.
If Scott runs for Senate, it will set up what will be a nationally-watched race in a state with notoriously razor thin statewide election results. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has been in the Senate since 2001, but there is almost universal agreement that this will be his toughest election fight.
Scott is the most popular he has ever been, has been Florida’s most prolific political fundraiser and can use his personal wealth to write his campaign a check, as he has done in his two gubernatorial races.
It has been an open rumor for months in Florida political circles that Scott, who is facing term-limits as governor, would jump into the Senate fray. Those rumors were fueled by moves Scott’s political team has taken, including all but shuttering his prolific state fundraising machine and shifting focus to a federal super PAC that quickly filled up with traditional state donors.