Memorial Day Over, Governor Candidates Resume War of Words
Around the State
With Memorial Day in the rear view mirror, on Tuesday the leading candidates in the Florida gubernatorial race looked to direct voters’ attention back to the race with a new round of attacks.
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) took aim at former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday in a new Web ad, accusing the newly minted Democrat of raising taxes five years ago.
“Charlie Crist wants Floridians to judge him by his deeds, not by his words,” said Susan Hepworth, a spokeswoman for the RPOF, on Tuesday. “But five years ago today, Charlie Crist broke his word by signing a $2.2 billion tax increase, a deed he pledged he would never do. Now, as a Democrat, Charlie Crist brags about his tax hikes and won't rule out raising taxes if he's elected again. Charlie's word has always been worthless and his deeds have been dangerous for Florida families."
Crist’s team focused on raising funds on Tuesday but they also sent volleys of their own against the governor. Raising money for Crist’s “Scott-Free Fund” on Tuesday, Jessica Clark, the new Democrat’s deputy campaign manager, tried to paint a contrast between her boss, relying on grassroots, and Scott.
“Every single Floridian has a stake in what happens this November,” Clark insisted. “But with Rick Scott spending almost $11 million on TV, so far those voices are getting drowned out.”
The Crist camp launched the “Scott-Free Fund” over the Memorial Day weekend, with Clark hitting Scott on a variety of topics.
“With Rick Scott spending more than $11 million on TV so far, Floridians are sick of being forced to listen to only one side of the story,” Clark maintained on Saturday. “Here’s an example of exactly what we’ve got to make sure Floridians know about Scott: he has until midnight on June 4th to decide what to do with Florida’s 2014-2015 budget. His first year in office, he chose to cut more than $1 billion from education funding.What’s he going to do this time around? Per-student spending is down almost $200 from pre-recession levels -- is he going to restore that funding?”
In the meantime, Scott looked to turn attention toward small businesses’ role in Florida. In Miami on Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, going to bat for Scott, launched a two-week tour focusing on small businesses. Scott is looking to showcase his new $10 million proposal to have colleges and universities host $100,000 competitions to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Later in the day, Scott and Lopez-Cantera hit Fort Lauderdale to promote the new program.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” Scott said on Monday. “As someone who has owned a small business, I know the risk and sacrifice Florida families make every day to create opportunities throughout our state. We’ve worked hard to build new jobs and opportunities and we’ve seen the results – over 600,000 new private-sector jobs. I want Florida to be a land of opportunity where small businesses can create jobs and our families can succeed. Let’s continue to encourage our job creators to take the risks and make the investments that put Floridians to work.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.