Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott has finally gotten a serious Democratic challenger for his Senate seat, which given the state of Florida Democrats, means former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will probably only lose by the low teens instead of being blown out by 20 or 30 points in 2024.
Former Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell announced Tuesday she will challenge Republican Sen. Rick Scott, a former two-term Florida governor viewed as the favorite in 2024.
Mucarsel-Powell, who came to the U.S. at age 14 from Ecuador, has long been on a short list of potential Democratic candidates. In recent weeks, a number of state and national Democratic leaders have coalesced around her. Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, who was also rumored to be considering a run against Scott, said in an interview Monday that she will remain in the Legislature.
Mucarsel-Powell has talked to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — which conducted a poll on her behalf — and says she anticipates having enough support to mount a serious campaign, even as national Democrats must defend seats in Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Montana and Arizona.
“Rick Scott is trying to raise taxes on our families. He wrote a plan to end Social Security and Medicare Advantage coverage for our seniors,” Mucarsel-Powell said in the interview.
Scott pitched the plan, which he dubbed the “Rescue America” plan, during the 2022 midterms as he chaired the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The plan included a proposal to sunset all federal legislation after five years, including entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. It also included language that “all Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game.” He later revised the proposal, but it is expected to be a prime part of Democratic attacks against him.
In May, Scott said in an interview that he welcomed Democrats’ trying to use the plan against him.
“I will fight over my ideas any day,” Scott said at the time, adding that President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “all lied about it. I was never going to cut any programs.”
Democrats were slow to coalesce around a candidate this cycle, reflecting the uphill climb in defeating Scott, who has never lost a statewide race. Scott is also one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with the ability to self-finance his campaign, although he has said he will not need to do so in this election.
While a number of long-shot Democrats have jumped into the race, Mucarsel-Powell is not expected to have serious competition for the nomination at this point.
“We’d like to welcome yet another failed congressional candidate to the crowded Democrat primary,” Scott Communications Director Priscilla Ivasco said. “Former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell is a radical socialist who voted 100% of the time with Nancy Pelosi during her short tenure in Congress, which is why the voters of South Florida booted her out of office the first chance they got. Floridians already rejected her once and they will reject her again.”