Gubernatorial Campaigns Look to Woo Florida Hispanic Voters

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 11, 2014 3:55 AM
Maurice Ferre, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Allison Tant

Maurice Ferre, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Allison Tant

The two major political parties unveiled new television ads aimed toward Hispanic voters this week as the gubernatorial race grows hotter than the Florida summer. 

On Thursday, the Florida Democratic Party launched a new television ad in Spanish which will be running in Orlando, Tampa and Miami. The ad attacks Gov. Rick Scott on education.

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"In this ad we focus on the incredible damage Rick Scott has done to Florida’s education system,” said Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, on Thursday. “Rick Scott cut $1.3 billion from public schools and he increased tuition at 11 state universities, reducing opportunity for Florida’s students. It is vital for us to continue sharing those facts of Rick Scott’s awful record with Florida’s Hispanic community.”

“These cuts to education have hit minorities -- especially Florida’s Hispanic community -- the hardest,” said Christian Ulvert, the Florida Democrats’ political director. “More than half of Florida’s black and Hispanic students will no longer qualify for Bright Futures scholarships under Rick Scott’s latest round of cuts. How can Rick Scott claim to be a friend to this Hispanic community when he is closing the doors of opportunity to tens of thousands of Hispanic students trying to get into college? On issue after issue Rick Scott has failed the Hispanic community, and this ad is part of our continued strategy, taking our messaging directly to the voters."

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera went to bat for his boss and he swung away at former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican.

“Whether we’re talking about jobs, debt, or education, Charlie Crist took our state to the bottom during his failed term as governor,” Lopez-Cantera said on Thursday. “He ran up a $3.6 billion deficit and left our schools in worse shape.”

Lopez-Cantera attacked Crist for running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 instead of for a second term as governor while Florida’s economy suffered.

“Charlie, a man who stands for nothing but his own ambition, tried to run away to Washington instead of cleaning up the mess,” Lopez-Cantera said. “It didn’t work for him then, and it won't this time, either."

In the meantime, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) released a new Spanish ad of its own on Wednesday. The ad showcases how Scott is helping small businesses across the state.

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A poll of likely voters from WFLA and Survey USA released this week finds Scott with a small lead over Crist, edging him 45 percent to 43 percent. But Crist has a solid lead over Scott with Hispanics, taking that group 49 percent to 41 percent.

Trying to catch Crist in the Democratic primary, former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich announced the endorsement of a prominent Hispanic leader on  Wednesday as former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre backed her. After an underwhelming bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, Ferre crossed party lines to endorse Scott in 2010.

“I’m strongly supporting Nan Rich because she is the candidate with a clear vision for Florida’s future that genuinely puts the needs of people first,” Ferre said. “Her unwavering commitment to improving Florida’s public schools, fighting for social justice, and protecting individual rights, clearly demonstrate her character and priorities. She is exactly the kind of person and leader we need as our governor.”

“I am sincerely honored to have Mayor Ferre’s support and endorsement,” Rich said. “His vision and leadership inspired confidence, stimulated investment, and reshaped the face of Miami. As the first Hispanic mayor of a major American city, he also opened the door of opportunity for all who followed. His experience and insight will be a valuable asset to our campaign.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (2)

9:11PM JUL 11TH 2014
Isn't it interesting how the media wants to push Crist & Scott on us and they never mention the best candidate.........Adrian Wyllie......
9:18AM JUL 11TH 2014
Interesting that Rich chastises, SLAMS Crist for having been a Republican but she is so gleeful to accept an endorsement of a politician who supported Scott???

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