Politics can be a soulless and gutless bloodsport, and yet it’s rare to see the sort of bizarre choreography that is taking place among the 2024 G.O.P. presidential frontrunners, contenders, and poseurs, alike. There hasn’t quite been a rapturous movement to enlist the various Republicans—Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Glenn Youngkin or Mike Pompeo—who remain pottering around the sidelines, waiting for Trump’s campaign to implode or die listlessly. But they remain pressed to the glass in the hope that Trump, should he remain viable, and DeSantis bully club each other so ruthlessly that it opens up a lane for a third viable challenger.
And then there’s Rick Scott, the multi-millionaire hospital magnate and former Florida governor and current McConnell antagonist in the Senate, who may have other designs. I’ve heard from multiple sources that, like any strategic politician, Scott is still leaving the door open for a presidential run in 2024, despite telling a group in Florida that he will run for re-election for the Senate. Sure, there’s no base of voters clamoring for Scott, either. But unlike the other ’24 hopefuls, save Youngkin, Scott has oodles of his own money. He is worth as much as $500 million and has been willing to dip into his own coffers at any time to burnish his brand. Asked about a 2024 bid, a Scott advisor told me that “[Scott] wouldn’t rule it out, and wants to keep his options open.”