Aug 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell launches 2024 Senate bid against Rick Scott

Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) announced her Senate campaign against incumbent Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Tuesday with a promotional video bashing his views on abortion and Social Security.

Why it matters: Mucarsel-Powell, who received a nudge from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic-aligned groups, is considered the party's best shot at flipping the Florida Senate seat.

  • Democrats see Scott as particularly vulnerable, in part, because of his"Rescue America" plan, which proposed sunsetting all federal programs, like Medicare and Social Security, every five years.

The big picture: Mucarsel-Powell's video describes herself as a battle-tested leader more in touch with the needs of Floridians than her opponent, citing her efforts to expand access to health care as an example.

  • She also emphasized her Ecuadorian heritage. She'd be the first-ever Hispanic woman Florida Democrats nominated to a statewide office.
  • Mucarsel-Powell will face a primary challenge from a handful of other Democrats, including former Rep. Alan Grayson and U.S. Navy veteran Phil Ehr, who twice failed to oust Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

What they're saying: "My mother brought me to this country so we could live in a nation with opportunities for all and where it doesn't matter who you are, everyone has a chance to make it," Mucarsel-Powell said in a statement.

  • "It will take all of us working together to defeat [Scott], but that's when we're at our best, and everywhere I go, I can feel this desire for change," she added.

Reality check: Mucarsel-Powell lost her 2020 re-election bid to former Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Meanwhile, Scott, a former governor and multimillionaire, has won three statewide elections.

  • Republican voters in Florida surpassed Democrats for the first time two years ago and have been extending that lead. The party also swept the state's midterm election and flipped several Democratic strongholds.
  • Toss-ups in Democratic-held Senate seats, like Wisconsin and Nevada, could leave Florida Democrats with fewer resources to unseat Scott — who can funnel considerable amounts of money into the race.

The other side: "We'd like to welcome yet another failed congressional candidate to the crowded Democrat primary," Priscilla Ivasco, Scott's campaign communications director, said in a statement.

  • "Floridians already rejected her once and they will reject her again."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with a statement from the Scott campaign.

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