WASHINGTON - Rick Scott woke up Tuesday morning as Governor of Florida. By noon, he was the state's former governor. And by 4 p.m., he was a U.S. Senator.
The Republican was supposed to start his new job as a U.S. senator Thursday, but he delayed his swearing in until the newly elected governor, Ron DeSantis, could be sworn in.
Scott said he wanted to keep his promise to fight for Floridians every day of his term.
- SunPass warns customers about scam targeting drivers with past-due tolls
- Orlando pet alliance helps rescue neglected German shepherds from Georgia
- Couple runs out on $10K hotel tab in Florida Keys, sheriff's office says
- VIDEO: Florida man hit dad in face with pizza after learning he helped deliver him, police say
Scott attended the first part of DeSantis' inauguration ceremony before boarding a flight to Washington to be sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence.
Scott will, for now, be the newest Senator in the chamber, with his fellow electees all sworn in five days prior.
In November, Scott challenged longtime Senator Bill Nelson. Scott narrowly won, but the results were so close it triggered both machine and hand recounts, drawing national scrutiny to Florida's election process.
If Scott had taken his new office Thursday, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera would have been sworn in as governor for the last five days of Scott's term. Scott's decision means Lopez-Cantera will be a less notable figure in Florida history books and won't get a portrait among the other past governors in Florida's Capitol, like Wayne Mixson did after serving as governor for three days in 1987 when Bob Graham left office early to be sworn in as a U.S. senator.
"When Gov. Scott was elected governor of Florida, he promised to fight for Florida families every single day of his term," spokesman John Tupps said last month when Scott made his decision to complete his term.
Scott begins his tenure as Florida's junior U.S. Senator as Washington is mired in the third week of a government shutdown.
Sen Rick Scott R-FL now sworn in; was flanked by former GOP Senators Mack & Martinez pic.twitter.com/dtWbRJlDVg— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) January 8, 2019
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.