Gov. Rick Scott popped into The Villages for a last-minute campaign stop Monday on the eve of Florida’s midterm election.
The GOP U.S. Senate hopeful, who is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, wasted little time in pointing out that in his opinion, the differences between the two are quite obvious.
“Do you want a talker; that’s what my opponent is. Or do you want a doer?” he asked the crowd at the Eisenhower Recreation Center, who responded with a rousing round of applause. “Do you want somebody that’s going to worry about people getting jobs or have somebody that’s worried about his job? Do you want someone that has a plan for how you change the country that starts with term limits, or somebody that says, ‘No I don’t want term limits. I’ll lose my job,’” Scott added, while speaking about Nelson, who made a campaign stop at the Wildwood Community Center in late July and was supposed to make an appearance at the Colony Cottage Recreation Center in September but was a no-show when his plane was delayed.
Scott said he learned his work ethic at a very young age from his mother, Esther, who passed away in 2012. Many Floridians know her because she was a prominent figure during Scott’s initial campaign to become governor in 2010 with a 30-second commercial referring to her son as “a good boy” and vowing that “he’ll get Florida back work.”
Scott said his family was very poor and she was the “toughest” person he ever met.
“She said, ‘You’re going to make Eagle Scout. You’re going to get straight A’s. And you’re going to go to church a lot,’” Scott recalled. “I said, ‘Mom, there is nobody like you. Do you realize that?’ She said, ‘I don’t care. Go get a job.’”
Scott, who also visited The Villages in September as part of his 10-day statewide campaign aboard the “Make Washington Work Bus Tour,” said that if he’s elected to the Senate, he’ll remember his mother’s words as he heads to Washington, D.C.
“I love to work,” he said. “I’ll work my butt off and we’ll build relationships.”
Scott said he’s aware that a large portion of area residents have taken advantage of the early voting period – 63 percent of registered voters in Sumter County alone – but he encouraged everyone to speak with their friends and neighbors and even offer to take someone to the polls if need be to make sure as many people vote as possible.
“The reality is, it’s about our lives. It’s about our kids and our grandkids and what would you do to make sure that their lives are better,” he said.
Scott added that if Villagers and area residents are successful in getting people out to vote, Republican candidates running in this year’s election should be successful.
“There’s no reason we’re going to lose this,” he said. “We’ve all worked hard. And I know everybody here has worked hard and you guys are the key.”
Scott added that he believes voters in The Villages have the ability to make the difference between victory and defeat.
“We’ve won by less than 100,000 votes in both of our races,” he said. “So if you just think about what you guys can do here, we can win the election – hopefully by a gazillion votes,” he added with a smile.
“But I’m not relying on it. I fight it every day.”
David Gee, founder of Villagers for Trump, said he liked what Scott had to say during Monday’s event. He added that he also appreciates the fact that Scott adhered to the “Three Bs” during his campaign stop – be short, be brief and be gone.
“I don’t like these long, drawn-out rallies where we’re here for three or four hours,” he said. “So I think today, we’re in and out, really in about an hour. And I think the U.S. senator-to-be was right on point and inspired the people.”
Gee added that he appreciates how Scott has worked so hard to show voters what he stands for – lower taxes, paying down the state’s debt, encouraging jobs and getting rid of regulations.
“His message is right on point to most conservatives,” Gee said. “He’s got a large, broad base of people that are really out on his behalf. And he’s saying now if the people are not inspired to want to come out and support his platform, then shame on us. So I agree with what he’s saying.”