Parties Attack With Web Ads in Gubernatorial Race

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 10, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist and Rick Scott

Charlie Crist and Rick Scott

With five months to go in the Florida gubernatorial contest, the two major parties took to cyberspace on Monday, launching new Web videos attacking the leading candidates in the race. 

As Gov. Rick Scott launched a tour of Florida focused on keeping higher education costs under control, he garnered some air support from the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). On Monday, the RPOF unveiled a Web ad hitting former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination, on a host of fronts including raising tuition and increasing taxes during his term as governor. The ad also jabbed Crist for supporting President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.

"Charlie Crist continues to try and gloss over his failed record by saying that raising tuition and raising taxes was ‘the right thing to do.’ We have news for Charlie -- putting college out of reach and raising taxes on Floridians is never the right thing to do,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the RPOF, on Monday. “And continuing to support Obamacare, which has caused seniors to lose their doctors, will never be the right thing for Florida."

But the Florida Democratic Party launched a Web ad of its own on Monday. The new ad focuses on Scott’s time in the private sector, specifically his tenure as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain.

During Scott’s time at Columbia/HCA, federal investigators examined Medicare fraud at the company, leading to a then-record fine. Earlier in the campaign, Crist promised to hit Scott on the matter, a tactic used by then-Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary against Scott in 2010 and, later on in that election cycle, by then-state CFO Alex Sink in the general election.

“Floridians are looking for a governor they can trust to build an economy that works for the middle class,” said Scott Arceneaux, the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. “Rick Scott has lost Floridians' trust, because he’s spent his whole career failing to look out for the middle class.

"His company stole billions from seniors’ health care, and he pled the Fifth 75 times to avoid incriminating himself,” Arceneaux continued. “With this ad, we’re making sure every Floridian knows exactly why they can’t trust Rick Scott with four more years.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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