Will Voters Relate to a Candidate With a 145-Foot Yacht?

Tuesday is day of reckoning in Florida for Jeff Greene, Rick Scott.

ByABC News
August 23, 2010, 12:11 PM

Aug. 23, 2010 — -- Two super-wealthy political neophytes are attempting major primary election upsets in Florida Tuesday, and their performance could provide an early look at the prospects for similar candidates around the country.

Billionaire real estate mogul Jeff Greene and super-rich healthcare executive Rick Scott have both vastly outspent their rivals in the races for U.S. Senate and governor. Greene, who is looking to take down an establishment Democrat, Rep. Kendrick Meek, in that party's senate primary, has spent $23 million, according to published reports. Scott, who is after the Republican nomination for governor, has spent a whopping $39 million -- five times that of his GOP rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum.

The two men are part of a bumper crop of millionaire (and billionaire) political candidates this fall, most of whom are tapping their enormous bank accounts to mount serious challenges to more traditional, establishment candidates.

Included in this well-heeled group is Linda McMahon, whose fortune as part of pro-wrestling's power couple has been fuel for a U.S. Senate bid in Connecticut. Billionaire Meg Whitman has dipped into her E-Bay fortune to blanket the airwaves in the race for California governor. Republican Carly Fiorina is also running in California, using her personal wealth to underwrite her senate bid.

Tomorrow's Florida primaries will serve as an early barometer on the potency of wealthy self-funded political candidates this year. They will test the willingness of voters straining under the financial pressures of the down economy to vote for candidates who live opulent lifestyles replete with mega-mansions and gargantuan yachts.

"They have the argument that they are not beholden to anyone because it's their own money," said Fred Wertheimer, a longtime campaign finance expert in Washington. "But they also face the argument they are trying to buy a seat that should not be for sale to rich people."

\"They have the argument that they are not beholden to anyone because it's their own money,\" said Fred Wertheimer, a longtime campaign finance expert in Washington. \"But they also face the argument they are trying to buy a seat that should not be for sale to rich people.\"","publishedDate":"2010-08-23T16:11:27Z","contributors":[{"name":"ABC News","url":"","role":"","logo":"","logoAlt":""}],"modifiedDate":"2010-08-24T19:09:26Z","section":"Blotter","wordCount":301,"relatedTags":{"heading":"Related Topics","tags":[]},"lead":{"ratio":"16x9","disableForMobile":false,"type":"xl","mediaType":"image","alignCaptionToBody":true},"ads":{"Sticky":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"RightRail":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"InlineBox":{},"InlineOutstream":{"disabled":false},"Taboola":{"position":"bottom","pageType":"article","config":{"network":"abcnews-abcnews","mode":"thumbnails-a","container":"taboola-below-article-thumbnails","type":"article","targetType":"mix","placement":"Below Article Thumbnails"}}},"featuredVideo":null,"dateline":"Aug. 23, 2010 —","seo":{},"LivePromotion":{}},"autoUpdate":{"enabled":false,"topics":["general-elections-2020-balance-of-power"]}},"upw":{"balanceOfPower":{"electoral":{"header":"Biden Projected to be President-Elect","candidates":{"democrats":{"id":1036,"displayName":"Joe Biden","shortDisplayName":"J. Biden","firstName":"Joe","lastName":"Biden","party":"democrats","major":true,"incumbent":false,"winner":true,"votes":306},"republicans":{"id":8639,"displayName":"Donald Trump","shortDisplayName":"D. Trump","firstName":"Donald","lastName":"Trump","party":"republicans","major":true,"incumbent":true,"winner":false,"votes":232},"other":{"displayName":"Other","votes":0}},"parties":{"democrats":"democrats","republicans":"republicans"},"type":"electoral","votes":{"democrats":{"available":{},"total":306,"difference":{},"popular":{"displayValue":"81,283,098","value":81283098}},"republicans":{"available":{},"total":232,"difference":{},"popular":{"displayValue":"74,222,958","value":74222958}},"other":{"available":{},"total":0,"popular":{}},"total":538},"needed":{"displayText":"270 to win","displayValue":"270","value":270},"lastUpdated":{"value":"2020-12-18T21:15:13.850Z","displayValue":"December 18, 4:15:13PM ET"},"reporting":"99% of Expected Vote Reporting"},"senate":{"header":"Senate Seat Results","candidates":{"democrats":{"displayName":"Democrats","icon":"party-democrats","votes":46,"winner":false},"republicans":{"displayName":"Republicans","icon":"party-republicans","votes":50,"winner":false},"other":{"displayName":"Other","votes":2}},"parties":{"democrats":"democrats","republicans":"republicans"},"type":"senate","votes":{"democrats":{"available":{"displayText":"12 Democrats up for election","shortDisplayText":"12 Dems. up for election","displayValue":"12","value":12},"total":46,"difference":{"displayText":"Gained 1 seat","displayValue":"1","value":1},"popular":{}},"republicans":{"available":{"displayText":"23 Republicans up for election","shortDisplayText":"23 Reps. up for election","displayValue":"23","value":23},"total":50,"difference":{"displayText":"Lost 1 seat","displayValue":"-1","value":-1},"popular":{}},"other":{"available":{"displayText":"0 Others up for election","shortDisplayText":"0 Others up for election","displayValue":"0","value":0},"total":2,"popular":{}},"total":100},"needed":{"displayText":"51 for control","displayValue":"51","value":51},"lastUpdated":{"value":"2020-12-17T18:22:05.390Z","displayValue":"December 17, 1:22:05PM ET"}},"house":{"header":"House Results: Dems Retain Control","candidates":{"democrats":{"displayName":"Democrats","icon":"party-democrats","votes":222,"winner":true},"republicans":{"displayName":"Republicans","icon":"party-republicans","votes":210,"winner":false},"other":{"displayName":"Other","votes":0}},"parties":{"democrats":"democrats","republicans":"republicans"},"type":"house","votes":{"democrats":{"available":{"displayText":"233 Democrats up for election","shortDisplayText":"233 Dems. up for election","displayValue":"233","value":233},"total":222,"difference":{"displayText":"Lost 10 seats","displayValue":"-10","value":-10},"popular":{}},"republicans":{"available":{"displayText":"201 Republicans up for election","shortDisplayText":"201 Reps. up for election","displayValue":"201","value":201},"total":210,"difference":{"displayText":"Gained 10 seats","displayValue":"10","value":10},"popular":{}},"other":{"available":{"displayText":"1 Others up for election","shortDisplayText":"1 Others up for election","displayValue":"1","value":1},"total":0,"popular":{}},"total":435},"needed":{"displayText":"218 for control","displayValue":"218","value":218},"lastUpdated":{"value":"2020-12-17T18:22:02.900Z","displayValue":"December 17, 1:22:02PM ET"}},"lastUpdated":{"value":"2020-12-18T21:15:13.850Z","displayValue":"December 18, 4:15:13PM ET"},"autoUpdate":{"enabled":false,"topics":["general-elections-2020-balance-of-power"]},"electionsConfig":{}},"types":["electoral","senate","house"]}},"analytics":{"accountID":"wdgnewabcnews,wdgasec,wdgnewabcnweb,wdgnewabcnewsrollup","ns":"abcnews","pageName":"abcn:blotter:story","pageType":"story","pageUrl":"abcnews.go.com/Blotter/jeff-greene-rick-scott-spent-60-million-senate/story?id=11460938","globalSpecVersion":"v1.08","siteDifferentiator":"abcn:site","tagID":"apage_news01","userABCookie":"0","alertTag":"none","authors":"ABC News","authorsBureau":"none","authorsUnit":"none","dateline":"Aug. 23, 2010 —","id":"11460938","modDate":"2010-08-24","mediaOnPage":"none","modTime":"15:09","provider":"ABC News","pubDate":"2010-08-23","pubTime":"12:11","section":"Blotter","subBrand":"none","title":"Will Voters Relate to a Candidate With a 145-Foot Yacht?","videoId":"none","videoName":"none","wordCount":301},"taboola":{"config":{"network":"abcnews-abcnews","mode":"thumbnails-a","type":"other","targetType":"mix","placement":null,"pageTypeOverrides":{"story":{"mode":"thumbnails-a","type":"article","targetType":"mix","placement":"Below Article Thumbnails"},"home":{"mode":"thumbnails-b","container":"taboola-homepage-thumbnails","type":"home","targetType":"mix","placement":"Homepage Thumbnails"},"section":{"mode":"thumbnails-b","type":"category","targetType":"mix","placement":"Section Front Thumbnails"},"liveBlog":{"mode":"thumbnails-d","type":"other","targetType":"mix","placement":"Blog"}}}}},"request":{"headers":{},"httpVersion":"1.1","method":"GET","url":"/Blotter/jeff-greene-rick-scott-spent-60-million-senate/story?id=11460938","vary":{"host":"abcnews.go.com","cached":true,"path":"/Blotter/jeff-greene-rick-scott-spent-60-million-senate/story","forwarded-proto":"https","device":"desktop","country":"us","userab":"0"}},"viewport":{"width":1260,"height":0},"user":{}};