As has been long expected, Gov. Rick Scott, R-Florida has announced his run for the United States Senate, seeking to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida. By all accounts, including the Washington Post, the battle for the Florida Senate seat will be an epic one. John Fund, writing for the National Review, believes that Scott has an excellent chance of knocking off Nelson and picking up his seat for the Republicans.

Two reasons exist for this possibility. Scott has been a successful Florida governor, maintaining his state as a center of prosperity and a magnet for Americans moving from less successful, blue states.

Bill Nelson, not to put too fine a point on it, is a swamp-dwelling political hack who has been in office far too long.

The case for Rick Scott

As John Fund notes, Scott has been heavily focused on economic growth and job creation during his tenure as governor. He has lowered taxes every year and has cut through regulations.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable. Public school graduation rates are up. 1.26 million jobs have been created. The crime rate is the lowest it has been in 45 years. Unemployment is a third of what it was when Scott took office. Housing prices have gone up 15 percent.

Scott has a record as governor of Florida that any politician would be proud of. He has thus made a case for why he should be elected to the Senate.

The case against Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson, on the other hand, is 75 and has spent an undistinguished career as a politician in both the House and the Senate.

While Nelson has been involved in a number of scandals, such as the time he was accused of taking $80,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Riscorp Inc and his tendency to earmark, he is known outside of Florida for two things. He once flew in space for dubious reasons. Nelson is currently waging a McCarthy-like effort to block the nomination of Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator.

A number of paths exist for becoming an astronaut. One can become a military test pilot and create a proven record of flying advanced aircraft. One can study in the STEM fields and become a scientist or engineer. One can get rich and become a space tourist.

Ever the creative one, Nelson found another way. In the mid-1980s, when he was still a House member, Nelson demanded that NASA send him on a space shuttle mission. The reason he gave was that he was an important member of Congress who had a crucial role in deciding how much money the space agency received. NASA duly put Nelson on a space shuttle crew, though the other astronauts had a modicum of revenge by nicknaming him “ballast.”

The other thing that Bill Nelson is infamous for outside of Florida is his continued and, thus far, successful campaign to prevent Rep.

Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma from becoming NASA administrator. Bridenstine is a young reformer, steeped in space policy, who enjoys endorsements from scientists, commercial space entrepreneurs, and even Apollo moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. Nelson says that he opposes Bridenstine because he does not come with a technical background. The real reason is that the congressman is a conservative Republican and that Nelson has a need to flex his political muscles to stop his appointment.

As a result, NASA is now embroiled in a leadership crisis just as it has been ordered to send people back to the moon. For the utter irresponsibility that has harmed the space agency, Nelson needs to be involuntarily retired to the private sector.