Big Sugar gives big bucks to Rick Scott

“Red Tide Rick” Scott was no friend to the clean-water cause as Florida’s governor. Then he moved on to the U.S. Senate by barely beating incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018.

Now he’s in a tight race for re-election; a new survey from Florida Atlantic University and Mainstreet Research pegged his lead over Democratic challenger and former Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell at a mere 2 points, 45% to 43%. Back in April, Scott was up by 17 points — and clearly, he’s going to need all the help he can get.

He’s getting plenty from Big Sugar.

A review of federal campaign finance data shows the sugar industry — spearheaded by Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar – has showered Scott with campaign cash in his attempt to retain his seat. The biggest donations: A pair of $250,000 gifts from U.S. Sugar in 2023 to the “Project Rescue America” super PAC that supports Scott.

The United States Sugar Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plan PAC donated another $11,600 to the “Team Rick Scott” political action committee earlier this year. Team Rick Scott has gotten another $10,000 from sugar interests since December.

In addition, the U.S. Sugar Employee Stock Ownership PAC donated $10,000 to the “Rick Scott for Florida” campaign so far in 2024; the campaign has gotten at least $18,000 from other sugar interests.

Meanwhile, the amount of money Mucarsel-Powell’s “Debbie for Florida” campaign has gotten from Big Sugar?


So it should be crystal clear who Sugar wants in that Senate seat — and the industry, of course, will expect a return on its investment.

While Scott may see the industry’s support as a boon, we plan to hang it around his neck like an anchor. Scott is clearly Big Sugar’s lackey — and it’s time for this seat to go sugar-free.