Candidates for Governor:
Rick Scott (R)
Richard Lynn "Rick" Scott (born December 1, 1952) is the 45th and current Governor of Florida and an American businessman. A member of the Republican Party, Scott has served as Governor since 2011.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Scott is the graduate of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, later receiving his law degree from Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law. He served in the United States Navy before starting his business career, joining the Dallas firm Johnson & Swanson, where he became partner. In 1987, at age 34, he co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S.
He resigned as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a controversy over the company's business and Medicare billing practices; the company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million, which was the largest fraud settlement in US history; Scott however was not implicated and no charges were raised against him personally. Scott later became a venture capitalist.
Scott announced his intention to run for Governor of Florida in 2010. He defeated Bill McCollum in the Republican primary election and defeated Democratic nominee Alex Sink in a close race in the general election, spending roughly $75 million of his own money in the process. Scott's net worth was estimated at $218 million in 2010 and $83 million in 2012.
Charlie Crist (D)
Charles Joseph "Charlie" Crist, Jr. (born July 24, 1956) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th Governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011. Crist began his political career as a Republican, serving in the Florida Senate from 1993 to 1999, running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1998 and then serving as Florida Education Commissioner from 2001 to 2003 and Florida Attorney General from 2003 to 2007 before being elected Governor in 2006.
Crist declined to run for re-election as Governor in 2010, instead announcing on May 12, 2009, that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by then-fellow Republican Mel Martinez. After initially leading in the race for the Republican nomination, he was overtaken in the polls by Tea Party candidate Marco Rubio and in April 2010, Crist left the Republican Party and became an Independent. In the general election, he lost to Rubio in a three-way race, taking 30% of the vote to Rubio's 49% and Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek's 20%. Crist's term as Governor ended in January 2011. On December 7, 2012, he joined the Democratic Party, having endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012. On November 1, 2013, he announced that he was running for governor in the 2014 election.