Former Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Gov. Rick Scott for re-election today, after having both opposed and backed Scott in the past.
In a statement issued by the Florida Republican Party, which is serving as a campaign surrogate for Scott prior to Scott's official formation of his own campaign, Bush said he's backing Scott because, “He campaigned on a platform of getting Florida's economy back on track, and has delivered on that promise.”
Bush cited “a business-friendly climate that fosters growth and job creation,” tax cuts and the decline in unemployment rate and increase in jobs numbers since Scott took office.
He said Scott “is pursuing policies to restore prosperity for more Floridians while prioritizing core state responsibilities, including increasing the state's investment in education.”
In 2010, when Scott was running as an outsider in the Republican primary, taking on the party establishment, Bush backed Bill McCollum against Scott in strong terms.
In an appearance with McCollum in Tampa just before the primary, Bush said of Scott, “Never in my mind would I have imagined some guy stroking a 25 or 30 million dollar check out of his own bank account to run a campaign,” he said. “I think people will think that's a little weird.”
Bush said he considered it a legitimate issue that the health care company Scott formerly ran, Columbia/HCA, had paid the biggest fine in history for Medicare fraud. Bush declined even to say whether he would back Scott in the general election if Scott won the primary.
Two months later, however, Bush did just that, backing Scott and even acting as a campaign surrogate for him after Scott beat McCollum in the primary. Scott ended up spending more than $70 million of his own money on the race.
More recently, the two appear to have had a background disagreement over education issues.
Bush, whose signature issue is education, is one of the nation's highest-profile backers of the new Common Core curriculum standards.
Scott hasn't outright opposed the plan, but appears to be influenced by the tea party movement's opposition and has withdrawn the state from the consortium developing new tests to go with the standards.
One Bush loyalist who's on the state Board of Education, Kathleen Shanahan, has criticized Scott openly and is going off the board; another, Sally Bradshaw, resigned from the board recently.