Sen. Rick Scott of Florida will likely make headlines Thursday as he stops in Iowa, the state that for half a century has kicked off the presidential nomination calendar.
While the trip will spark further speculation about Scott’s potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination ambitions for the chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee (NRSC), much of the visit is around 2022.
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But Scott’s work leading the Senate GOP’s reelection arm as the party tries to win back a majority in the House could pay off if it ultimately decides to run for the White House after the mid-election. term of office next year.
The Iowa GOP invited Scott to Hawkeye State, where he will team up at Cedar Rapids with fellow Republicans Senator Joni Ernst, Representative Ashley Hinson and Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann to help raise money for Republicans.
Senior State Senator Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is re-elected next year, but the longtime lawmaker has yet to say whether he will run for an eighth six-year term representing Iowa in the national capital.
On the eve of his trip, Scott told the Des Moines Register he was “very optimistic that Senator Grassley is going to run … In fact, I would be surprised if he doesn’t.”
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Grassley, 87, said he plans to make a decision on whether he will stand for re-election “sometime in September, October or November” of this year.
“It’s a long time to make up my mind,” he told reporters in February.
Scott, a multimillion-dollar health care executive and venture capitalist who served two terms as governor of Florida before winning the Senate election in 2018, is currently traveling the country, meeting with Republican donors, activists and lawmakers from the GOP and state leaders as he aims to bolster the coffers of the NRSC to help the party recapture the Senate.
“It’s my job to recruit good candidates, which I’m going to work hard on. It’s my job to raise money to make sure they can win the election,” Scott told Fox News in January, as he took over as NRSC. chair.
In an NRSC video sent to donors earlier this year, Scott highlighted his fundraising efforts and undefeated election record by bragging, “here are two things I don’t do. I don’t waste money and I don’t lose. not elections. “
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Curt Anderson, a longtime Republican strategist and media consultant and veteran of many GOP presidential campaigns for more than two decades who advised Scott, told Fox News that in Scott’s races, “he put a lot into [of his own money], but he also lifted a ton. “
“It’s a relentless fundraiser,” Anderson stressed.
And he stressed that he had “never met a candidate, a politician, a governor, a senator or even a more disciplined human. We can like him or not, but the discipline factor is crazy.”
These attributes are useful for Scott’s current role as chair of the NRSC and will also come in handy if Scott ends up launching a 2024 campaign.
Right now, the buzz in 2024 is mostly about whether former President Trump will continue his repeated flirtations and run a third White House run. All early data indicates that the former president remains extremely popular with Republican voters, as his influence over GOP politicians remains immense.
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On a recent fundraising trip to Florida, Scott made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s resort town where he resides, to meet the former president. The two leaders disagreed with Scott’s promise to back all GOP incumbents for re-election – including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski – which Trump is targeting in his February vote to condemn the former president in his impeachment trial.
But after the meeting, Scott underscored Trump’s support for helping regain control of the Senate, tweeting: “We are all focused on winning back the majority in the Senate in 2022 and saving our country from radical Party policies. Democrat today “.
Amid the ongoing intra-partisan feud between Trump and longtime GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, Scott is the only member of the Republican Senate leadership to have met the former president since leaving. the White House two months ago.
Although not a fan favorite of the MAGA world – compared to fellow Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who had a strong performance a month ago in the Political Action Conference presidential bid poll Conservative (CPAC) 2024 GOP – Scott’s working relationship with the former President could pay off if Trump ultimately rules out another White House candidacy.
Longtime New Hampshire-based Republican consultant Jim Merrill said: “I think Rick Scott is very smartly using his NRSC position right now, to make friends in the early states, to raise funds, to help out. people, and I think that will pay him dividends in the long run. “
Scott downplayed any discussion about 2024, telling Fox News late last year: “That’s not what I’m focusing on.”
But speculation about Scott’s future national ambitions was sparked over a year ago, when he ran ads in Iowa targeting then-Democratic presidential candidate Biden in the weeks leading up to the elections. 2020 caucus.
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On Thursday, Scott becomes just the second potential 2024 Republican candidate – after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – to make an in-person stopover this year in Iowa. Two weeks ago, he launched a weekly ‘right of the center’ appeal among influential Tory leaders and activists in New Hampshire, which follows Iowa in the nominations calendar and for a century held the first primary along from the road to the White House. Scott is expected to visit New Hampshire in person this summer to help raise funds for the state government.
Merrill, a veteran of many GOP presidential campaigns, noted, “It’s something that we expect from potential presidential candidates, to go to the first states to make friends and one of the ways to do it. to do is to help raise funds and support local candidates in the midterm elections. “
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