Rick Scott

What will the Florida Legislature look like with Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Charlie Crist as governor? A lot depends on whether Republicans not only retain control of the Legislature, but regain a super majority -- making their policy decisions veto-proof.

For all the money spent, doors knocked, ads aired and miles traveled by candidates this year, the 2014 elections will likely come down to the votes cast by a relatively small universe of places.

Whether it's because of their size, demographic make-up, or the unique spot they occupy, these places will have an outsized role in state — and possibly national — politics this year.

Here are seven of them:

Think you've seen every attack possible in TV ads in the Florida governor's race?     

Well, you are probably right.

Even new ads popping up in the week before the election November 4th have the same old talking points -- just in different packages.

That's the conclusion of PolitiFact Florida -- which fact-checked the new ads with old attacks.

Lottie Watts / WUSF 89.7

Former President Bill Clinton was in Florida Sunday to campaign on behalf of Charlie Crist, a former Republican and former governor who is now the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. 

"Charlie Crist will get the show on the road from Florida," Clinton told a crowd of about 1,000 Crist supporters at Cyrus Greene Park in East Tampa. "And he will grow the economy from the middle out ... he believes we ought to do this together."

Clinton, Christie to Make FL Appearances Sunday

Oct 24, 2014

Former President Bill Clinton will swing through Florida on Sunday, campaigning for Democratic congressional candidate Gwen Graham in Tallahassee, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist in Tampa and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in Palm Beach Gardens.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is coming back to the state to appear on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott, this time making stops Sunday in South Florida.

With just over a week left until election day Gov. Rick Scott's "Get Out the Early Vote" bus tour made a stop in New Tampa Friday. Scott made some brief remarks to a group of supporters in a small cafe to encourage them to head to the polls.

"We're on our bus, we're getting the vote out. If you have an absentee ballot, vote it. We need all the votes. And early voting, vote now. The earlier you vote, get those votes in," said Scott.

Mark Wilson / Getty News Images

Gov. Rick Scott, who got elected four years ago after spending more than $70 million of his own money, is being forced to dip into his own wallet in the final days of his re-election campaign.

Scott told a Miami television station Wednesday that he is going to be "investing" in his race, although he did not cite a specific amount. The amount probably won't be known until the end of the month.

Scott, Crist Turn Up Heat in Final Debate

Oct 22, 2014

In their final --- and most heated --- debate before the Nov. 4 election, incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist came out swinging Tuesday night, excoriating each other's records as the state's chief executive and each painting his rival as out of touch with everyday Floridians.

Fact-Checking Charge that Crist is Corrupt

Oct 15, 2014

Election day is getting close -- and the TV ad war between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist rages on. 

One of the latest ads from the Scott side pulls no punches. It calls Crist a "corrupt politician" who funneled taxpayer money into what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.

Gov. Rick Scott’s leadership of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain is well known, as is the company’s record $1.7 billion fine for filing false claims for Medicare and other federal health programs.

But as he faces re-election, stories about a simultaneous investigation in the 1990s are emerging involving Scott and attempts to buy the then-publicly owned Tampa General Hospital, The Tampa Tribune reports.

The battle for the Florida governor's office is fully engaged now.  

And, oddly, both Republican Governor Rick Scott and his challenger, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, appear to be using some of the same ammunition.

Both the Republican Party of Florida and the Crist campaign have recently cited convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein in ads slamming their opponent.

Fact-Checking Scott and Crist on Duke Energy

Aug 24, 2014

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has pledged to target candidates who he deems bad for the environment and as deniers of climate change.

And Florida Governor Rick Scott is one of the candidates in Steyer's sights.

 A California billionaire environmentalist is pouring millions of dollars into the Florida governor's race to buy television ads attacking Gov. Rick Scott as a friend of polluters and utility companies, giving the campaign of Democratic front-runner Charlie Crist a boost as polls show a tightening race.

Fact-Checking Who's Paying for All Aboard Florida

Aug 16, 2014

Governor Rick Scott declined to accept federal money for a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando.

But Scott is supporting the All Aboard Florida project -- a rail line from Miami to West Palm Beach that could eventually reach Orlando.

The difference, Scott says, is that there's not government money involved in this rail project.

Fact-Checking the Governor on Early Voting Laws

Aug 6, 2014

The governor of Florida got a dressing down from the Attorney General of the United States recently.

In a letter to Rick Scott late last month, Attorney General Eric Holder warned Scott that he's "carefully monitoring" voter access in the state.

Holder wrote that he is "deeply disturbed that during your tenure, your state has repeatedly added barriers to voting and restricted access to the polls."

The race for Florida governor is heating up.

Gov. Rick Scott's likely Democratic challenger Charlie Crist released his first TV ad this week. It's called "Sunshine" -- and its focus is definitely positive.

But mud is being slung in the campaign.

Though, sometimes, it's hard to figure out who is slinging it.

Fact-Checking Charlie Crist on Tuition Increases

Jun 11, 2014

Education is quickly becoming ammunition in the upcoming gubernatorial battle between Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his likely Democratic opponent -- former governor and former Republican Charlie Crist.

The latest charges from Scott's camp are that Crist raised college tuition in Florida a bunch before Scott came in and started lowering college costs.

Governor Rick Scott is traveling the state this week -- in full campaign mode -- following a 60-day legislative session that produced a number of things he can use on the campaign trail... not the least of which are tax and fee cuts.

He's also claiming victory for a law that will allow the children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rates.

But you don't have to travel too far back in time to hear Scott opposing that kind of law.

Fact-Checking Hispanic Voter Estimates

Apr 30, 2014

The gubernatorial race in Florida isn't even set yet -- though it's highly likely that Republican Gov. Rick Scott will be going up against former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now a Democrat.

Based on recent presidential votes in Florida, Crist may be assuming that he'll get the lion's share of the Hispanic vote in the state.

Scott Names New DCF Secretary

Apr 28, 2014

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is naming a new secretary for the state's embattled child welfare agency. 

Scott on a Monday will announce that Mike Carroll has been appointed to take over the Department of Children and Families. Scott will make the announcement during a visit with child protective investigators in Jacksonville.

Carroll takes over for interim secretary Esther Jacobo. Jacobo has been in charge of the agency since last July's abrupt resignation of David Wilkins. Her last day is Friday.

Fact-Checking Charlie Crist's Past

Apr 23, 2014

Charlie Crist was once a Republican governor of Florida.        

He wants his old job back -- as a Democrat. 

And that means -- to make a strong case among Democratic voters -- he has some explaining to do.

But some analysts say Crist is having a tough time spinning his Republican record.

Fact-Checking Governor Scott on Job Creation

Apr 9, 2014

"Jobs" has been Rick Scott's mantra since becoming governor of Florida.          

Talk about any topic and Florida's governor is more than likely going to, somehow, end up talking about job creation.

And that certainly hasn't changed as Scott gears up his reelection campaign.

Most recently, the Governor has said Florida has created 540,000 jobs since 2010.

Are the governor's stats -- which came in an online ad -- correct?

Fact-Checking Rubio and Scott on ACA Claims

Apr 2, 2014

Right around the 4th anniversary of its passage, the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- has come and gone.

While the White House has been celebrating the number of sign-ups -- a number that's in dispute -- critics, including many Republicans, claim the law is fatally flawed.

The economy is definitely going to be a campaign issue in the Florida gubernatorial race, with Republican Gov. Rick Scott claiming that he's cleaned up the economic mess left by his predecessor -- Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.

It is Crist who will be running to unseat Scott.

As Florida's governor, Crist served from January 2007 to January 2011 when the wheels fell off Florida's economy -- and the country's -- in what's now referred to as the great recession.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

Florida Gov. Rick Scott delivered his annual State of the State address to kick off the 60-day legislative session Tuesday morning.

Our special coverage included analysis by StateImpact Florida reporter John O'Connor and senior political writer William March of the Tampa Tribune.

We will re-air portions of Scott's speech and the Democratic responses on Florida Matters this week on Tuesday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 9 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has taken his share of heat from environmentalists over his pro-business policies.

But lately the governor has proposed increases in spending on conservation projects -- including Everglades preservation and cleaner waterways.

Scott even praised Environmental Protection Agency workers.

The governor said, "Recently, Florida has successfully reduced the environmental permitting time down to just two days. That's great."

utnapistim / Flickr

The chairman of the Senate’s Education Committee said Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers want to spend at least $40 million, and likely more, to upgrade school Internet capacity and add new computers, tablets and other digital tools.

Sen. John Legg, R-Port Richey, said education technology is a priority for Scott and both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders.

Legg said $40 million in Scott’s proposed budget — to be released in full tomorrow — is a starting point.

Gov. Rick Scott's office announced Monday he had signed a trio of bills aimed at allaying fears about the state's version of the Common Core education standards — even though Scott apparently didn't have one of the bills when the signing was announced.

Scott also signed another education bill dealing with school grades.

According to Scott's office, the three Common Core-related measures he signed Monday included:

Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist is leading Republican Gov. Rick Scott by 7 points in a poll released Thursday, but the lead is much closer than it was seven months ago.

Crist announced earlier this month that he would seek his old job with his new party. The announcement, though, doesn't seem to have given him a boost with voters. He leads Scott 47-40 in the Quinnipiac University poll, but led Scott by 16 percentage polls in Quinnipiac poll in March, when his entry in the race was still speculative.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

At Busch Gardens in Tampa Friday morning, Gov. Rick Scott said more people than ever are visiting Florida. From July through September, Florida welcomed 21.9 million visitors. 

"The Sunshine State has experienced two consecutive years of record-setting visitation by travelers from 184 counties," Scott said. "We hope to build on that momentum in 2014 and beyond to make the Sunshine State the number one travel destination in the world."

From January through August, tourists spent more than $58 billion in Florida, Scott said.