Rick Scott returned Monday evening to a place that was especially friendly in the Republican primary: Bay County in Panama City, which handed 62 percent of its votes to the GOP nominee for governor who faces Democrat Alex Sink on Nov. 2.
"As you know, we won big up here in the primary," Scott told a friendly middle-aged crowd of about 75 people at his storefront campaign headquarters on Harrison Avenue in downtown PC. "We have pretty high expectations."
A few feet behind Scott, more than a dozen young people, dressed in Rick Scott T-shirts, sat shoulder to shoulder and worked the phones, contacting people who had requested absentee ballots, as he delivered his familiar pitch of job creation through lower taxes and less regulation. Wearing a Navy blue suit, Scott paused to pick up a tow-headed three-year-old, Braxton McElhaney, who asked the candidate: "Are you the one with all the signs?"
"Yeah, I'm the one with the signs," Scott replied.
Earlier Monday, about 150 people turned out for a Scott fund-raiser at Captain Anderson's, the venerable Panama City restaurant, where he was introduced by state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, whose family has long operated the seafood emporium. Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville and Reps. Clay Ford, R-Gulf Breeze, and Marti Coley, R-Marianna, also attended. Gaetz says he feels a victorious election for Republicans: "It looks good," he said. "The only thing that could lose it for us is Republican mistakes."
-- Steve Bousquet