John Frank

John Frank is a freelance writer who covered the Florida governor's race for the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald.

Recent Articles

Florida, Inc.

If a state were a business, CEO Rick Scott would be shown the door.

(Flickr/Governor Rick Scott)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott's ever present, camera-ready grin masks the strain of an embattled politician. His approval ratings rank at the bottom among the nation's governors, and Democrats are poised to use him as the bogeyman of the 2012 election in a key battleground state. He can't match the always-sunny-in-Florida cheer of his predecessor, Charlie Crist, but Scott rivals any Wall Street CEO's unyielding optimism amid dismal earnings. "Hey, how's it going? You doing all right?" he says as he smiles and grips a woman's hand. Scott is working the halls in a place where he isn't a familiar face: the legislative office building. It's rare to see the governor leave his office, behind gigantic wooden doors at the end of a great hall, to whip votes on legislation. Lawmakers usually come to him. But these are desperate times. Scott is working to charm four Republican senators into changing their votes. With only days left in the lawmaking session, he needs a last-minute victory on a bill...

Scott Free

The Florida governor's race is one of the most important in the nation -- and a low-flying hard-core conservative is looking to win.

Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Walter Michot)
Three months ago, as his campaign bus traveled along Florida's Gulf Coast, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott took questions for an hour, veering further to the right with each answer. For the reporters on the bus, it became a bingo of conservative talking points: Arizona-style immigration laws. Federal health-care repeal. Pro-life laws. More offshore oil drilling. And the winning question: "Do you believe in global warming?" "No," Scott said. Asked to expand, he said, "I have not been convinced." His tone left no room for argument. It reflects how the 57-year-old former hospital tycoon approaches politics and business: all or nothing. More than any other statewide candidate in Florida, Scott is a die-hard conservative -- "the real deal," a top GOP lobbyist says. Even more than Marco Rubio, the Tea Party darling whose U.S. Senate campaign in a three-way free-for-all is largely overshadowing Scott. If Scott wins in the Sunshine State, it will be a clean sweep for Republicans...