During a recent radio interview, Joe Scarborough hinted that he might run for Senate, which means that a date could be on the horizon when MSNBC viewers no longer have to see “Morning Joe.”
Transcript via Hugh Hewitt:
HH: Have you kept a residence in Florida, Joe?
JS: I do have a residence in Florida. And I have a 23-year-old son down there, and my mom’s still down there, so I still get down to Pensacola an awful lot. It’s still home, and it feels a lot more like home, being in New York and Connecticut in April where it’s 40 degrees and raining.
HH: So if Marco Rubio declares as we expect him to do to run for president next year, any chance Joe Scarborough wants to go to the Senate from Florida to replace Marco Rubio?
JS: I don’t think in ’16, but who knows? In ’18, Bill Nelson’s up, and I don’t think Bill Nelson will be sticking around, so you know, one of these years, I think, one of these years if I did something, I’d probably look to run in Florida.
What Scarborough really meant was that if he didn’t have to take on an incumbent, and if he could use his television fame to create an easy path, and if he thought it would be easy, he maybe, might run for Senate in 2018. If Scarborough runs in 2018, it will have been 18 years since he was on the ballot in Florida.
As Jeb Bush is finding out, a lot has changed in Florida in the last 15-20 years.
Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out why Florida is no slam dunk for Jeb Bush:
Part of what makes Florida such a challenging state politically is its fast-changing and ever-growing nature. Statewide candidates must constantly introduce themselves. Bush, for instance, won his two gubernatorial races by huge margins — nearly 11 percentage points in 1998 and 13 points in 2002 — but Florida is vastly different now.
The Florida Democratic Party still has the voter files from those Bush elections and can pinpoint which voters are still around and which aren’t. Only 28 percent of currently active Florida voters participated in either of Bush’s past two elections and only 13 percent of today’s registered voters are Republicans who voted in those 2002 or 1998 gubernatorial races.
Scarborough would face the same problem to a more extreme degree. He doesn’t have the resources that Jeb Bush has, and there is a vast archive of him saying stupid and unpopular things on television. The opposition research on Scarborough would consist of going through the tapes of his MSNBC show.
The good news for viewers of MSNBC is that there could be a definite date on the horizon when the plague that is Morning Joe is finally removed from their television screens. The bad news is that Scarborough most likely lacks the guts to leave his cushy television job, and throw himself into a race that he would not be favored to win.
Mostly likely, Scarborough tossed a hint that he might run out there to ransom NBC/MSNBC into giving him more money and power. But if Scarborough does have the political itch, MSNBC viewers may get the double bonus of no longer having to watch him while actively working to defeat Scarborough in an election.