Florida Gov. Rick Scott will not leave office before his gubernatorial term ends, and won’t be sworn in as a U.S. Senator with his colleagues in Congress on January 3, a spokesman said Tuesday.
“When Governor Scott was elected Governor of Florida, he promised to fight for Florida families every single day of his term,” said spokesman John Tupps. “Governor Scott will remain governor until Jan. 8, 2019.”
The news is undoubtedly a disappointment for Florida’s Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who would have succeeded Scott for the five-day interim period before Governor-elect Ron DeSantis would be sworn in on January 8.
Scott’s office said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to hold the swearing-in ceremony for Scott on the afternoon of January 8.
Scott’s’ decision to delay his introduction to Congress means that he will now become the most junior incoming U.S. Senator of the Class of 2018.
That is not insignificant, as seniority affects committee assignments and other U.S. Senate issues. Had Scott decided to join the rest of his class on January 3, he would have entered 97th out of 100 in seniority.
Scott narrowly defeated Democrat Bill Nelson in the race for U.S. Senate, winning by little more than 10,000 votes out of more than eight million cast.
Scott appeared in Tallahassee for a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the last such meeting he will preside over before going to Washington D.C. next month.
He declined to take questions from reporters after the meeting, and has yet to hold any type of media availability since he was certified as the winner in the U.S. Senate race on November 20.