Governor's Race a Bruiser: Parties Slugging Away at Each Other Like Prizefighters
Around the State
With nine months to go until the gubernatorial election, Florida’s two major parties are like a couple of heavyweights in the 12th round, pounding each other on behalf of their candidates without mercy.
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) on Monday looked to link former Gov. Charlie Crist to President Barack Obama, marking the fifth anniversary of the then-governor appearing with the president in Fort Myers to back the federal stimulus. Crist’s support of Obama’s stimulus was a deciding factor in his fall from grace with Republican voters, allowing Marco Rubio to catch him in the Republican primary for the 2010 U.S. Senate race.
"Five years ago today, Charlie Crist, the self-crowned prince of political opportunism, greeted President Obama in Fort Myers with an enthusiastic embrace of his binge-spending policies,” said Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, on Monday. “It was the 'hug heard round the world.' Five years later, he's come back to Fort Myers to sell his fiction novel in an attempt to run away from his failed record as governor. Now that Crist has embraced Obamacare -- a law that kills jobs, raises the deficit and caused 300,000 Floridians to lose their health insurance plans -- it's becoming more clear to voters that they can't afford another four years of Charlie."
The RPOF is even gathering signatures for a mock card marking the anniversary.
Nor was that the RPOF’s only line of attack against Crist Monday as they also unveiled a new Web video, hitting the former governor for his connections with convicted fraudster Scott Rothstein who said last week that Crist assigned judgeships in exchange for political donations.
“On the fifth anniversary of Charlie Crist's infamous hug of Barack Obama and his failed policies, Floridians should also remember Crist's many embraces of Scott Rothstein,” said Curry on Monday. “Not only was Rothstein convicted of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, he also testified under oath that he bought judgeships in return for political contributions. From whom? None other than Charlie Crist."
But the Democrats gave as good as they got, hitting Scott on economics. Despite the state unemployment rate shooting up to more than 11 percent under Crist and dropping to 6.2 percent under Scott, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party insisted on Monday the real rate under the governor was higher. Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democrats, said so many people were dropping out of the workforce that the real unemployment rate was 8.5 percent.
"Rick Scott can try to wrap his economic message in campaign spin, but Scott's record is clear: he would rather give taxpayer handouts to wealthy special interests and the biggest corporations instead of fighting for Florida's middle class,” Tant said on Monday. “Thousands of Floridians have fallen out of the middle class because of Rick Scott's wrong priorities.”
Tant launched a similar attack on Sunday. Noting that more than half of Florida’s unemployment population were out of work for six months to a year, Tant insisted Scott was failing the middle class.
"Under Rick Scott, the wealthy special interests get handouts while the middle class struggles just to get by," said Tant on Sunday. "For three years, Rick Scott's Florida has had more long-term unemployed than almost any other state. People have cut back until there isn't anything left to cut. Rick Scott just doesn't understand that the middle class must come first."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.