Nelson readies for Scott challenge

- Sen. Bill Nelson expects a political battle royale is about to form. He assumes that when Gov. Rick Scott makes his big announcement on April 9, it'll be that Scott wants his job. 

"I consider any challenger to be a tough one," said Nelson, "and I run like there's no tomorrow."

Nelson was elected to the senate in 2000 and since then, has registered double-digit wins against Katherine Harris and Connie Mack IV. 

A race with Rick Scott is rated as a toss-up. Both camps can point to polls that show themselves winning. 

On Monday, Nelson held a town hall with students in Tampa about gun safety, and told them he will keep pushing for universal background checks.

"He has an A-Plus rating from the NRA," Nelson said of Scott. "The NRA doesn't like me."

But, Scott can point to his raising the age of gun purchases to 21 and new funding for school safety. 

Scott also has huge personal wealth, universal name recognition and will have big support from national Republican groups eager to finally win Nelson's seat. 

Senate control could hinge on it.

Republicans may also have an advantage because, historically in Florida, GOP turnout is stronger than Democratic turnout in Congressional elections. 

Either way, Scott no longer needs to have this answer on repeat to the question, "are you running?"

"Typical politicians think about their next job. I am focused on this job. I am glad we had a very successful session. I will think about my future in the next few weeks."

Another factor could be President Trump. He and Gov. Scott are close, and Trump's approval rating is only in the high 30s. 

Scott has never won a statewide race by more than a point, so the national mood could be a big deal.

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