07/26/2010 01:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rick Scott, Florida Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Sparks Fear In GOP

Self-funding candidate Rick Scott's status as the frontrunner in Florida's Republican primary race for Governor has some members of the state's GOP community concerned.

Adam Smith at the St. Petersburg Times reports:

Scott has zero allegiance to the state party leadership or its favored political consultants and lobbyists-fundraisers who are doing all they can to beat him.

GOP chairman John Thrasher has rebuked Scott for criticizing the way rival Bill McCollum failed to aggressively pursue alleged mismanagement by former party chairman Jim Greer, who now faces criminal charges. Incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, both of whom stood by Greer for months and worked with McCollum and Thrasher to give Greer a secret severance package, have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to political committees to defeat Scott.

Since Scott announced his candidacy to challenge State Attorney General Bill McCollum for Florida's GOP gubernatorial nomination, the Republican hopeful has spent immense sums of his own wealth to advance his electoral pursuit. In the second quarter alone, Scott injected $22.6 million into his campaign fight.

Meanwhile, with Florida's August 24 primary election just weeks away, McCollum's camp has found itself cash-strapped and struggling to ward off a constant stream of attacks from Scott.

Prior to entering the political arena, Scott was perhaps best known as the head of Hospital Corporation of America -- a company that was slapped with a $1.7 billion fine after it plead guilty "to 14 felony charges stemming from a massive federal fraud investigation."

A recent editorial from the St. Petersburg Times offers this scathing review:

Scott's latest effort to burnish his credentials as a "pro-life leader'' are deceitful and lack any sense of decency. The hospital executive is shamelessly exploiting the tragedy of a family of a severely disabled young woman, marking the second time he has placed his selfish interests over theirs. The heartless ploy speaks volumes to this candidate's character and raises more questions about his judgment.

Despite the dirty laundry, Scott holds a commanding lead over McCollum, according to a survey released last week by Public Policy Polling. According to the numeric dispatch, both GOP hopefuls trail Democratic candidate Alex Sink; however, before Scott came into the mix of this year's Florida gubernatorial contenders, McCollum was running ahead of the pack.