The governor's race in Florida allows us to compare two governors against our Top States rankings: Republican Rick Scott, who is seeking a second term, and Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, who is seeking to win the office back. Crist was governor from 2007—the first year of our study—until 2011.
In the final year of Scott's first term, Florida ranks 20th overall in America's Top States for Business. In Crist's last full year, 2010, the state ranked 28th.
Crist must first defeat former State Senator Nan Rich in an Aug. 26 primary before he can take on the governor, but he is already setting his sights on Scott, particularly on the issue of education.
"When I was governor, we did things to help education," Crist said recently. He claims Scott "has wrecked it."
The Scott campaign, meanwhile, has run TV ads accusing Crist of raising tuition at state colleges and leaving K-12 schools in worse shape than when he took office.
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Our Top States rankings look at education, one of our 10 categories of competitiveness. And it turns out neither candidate's record is much to write home about.
Florida ranks 35th in Education this year, which is exactly where it was in the final year of Crist's term. In Crist's first year in office—2007—the state ranked 37th.
Florida high school students' ACT scores were among the worst in the country last year, just as they were in 2010.
Funding for higher education has declined more than 42 percent over the past five years, according to State Higher Education Executive Officers, a nonprofit association that measured a period running from the middle of Crist's term through last year. That means the two governors share the second-worst record on higher education funding in the nation.
—By CNBC's Scott Cohn