Rick Scott, Charlie Crist Land Attacks as General Election Campaign Takes Off
Around the State
Having blown out their competition in the primaries earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist honed their lines of attack on Wednesday as they kicked off the general election season.
After winning the Republican primary on Tuesday, Scott reminded Floridians on Wednesday that his $400 million cut of vehicle registration fees, one of his chief legislative priorities this year, takes effect on Sep. 1.
Scott insisted these fees were “tax increases” which Crist signed off on back in 2009. Despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican, Crist won the Democratic primary on Tuesday, easily beating former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich.
“This year, we set out to cut many taxes and fees on Florida families, and starting next week we are rolling back many of the 2009 tax increases on annual motor vehicle registrations,” Scott said on Wednesday. “This fee cut will result in an annual savings of about $25 per typical motor vehicle. Families deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money, and we will now be able to save Floridians $400 million, because it’s their money!”
Scott’s campaign team quickly showcased the fee cuts.
“This is another example of Rick Scott righting Charlie Crist’s wrong, by reducing his tax increase on Florida’s middle class,” insisted Greg Blair, a spokesman for the Scott campaign, on Wednesday in an email sent out to the media. “Charlie Crist says he’s ‘the people’s governor.’ But when things were going bad for the people of Florida, he made life worse, raising taxes by $2.2 billion.
“And what’s worse, Charlie Crist said he would raise taxes on Floridians again,” Blair added.
While Scott hit Crist on taxes and fees, the Democrat fired back on education. Despite Scott’s calls for increased education spending, including record high per-pupil spending, Crist went after the governor’s education budgets.
“Today is a harsh reminder of why we need to win on November 4th,” Crist noted on Wednesday. “Exactly one year ago, Rick Scott held a three-day education summit. But he didn't even bother to show up -- instead, he was holding closed door meetings and speaking at a tea party convention.
“I'm sick of meeting teachers and students who are hurting because Rick Scott cut $1.3 billion from K-12 education funding,” Crist added.
Libertarian Adrian Wyllie did not face a primary this week but he said on Wednesday that, even as his business suffers as his focus remains on the campaign, he is “all in” to win in November.
“Many people ask me how I'm able to run a business and run for governor at the same time,” Wyllie informed supporters on Wednesday. “The answer is that I've had to scale back my company's business operations dramatically. My family and I have had to make sacrifices. In addition to the time away from them over the past two years, we've also had to tighten our belts and live on a strict budget.
“I am so grateful for their support and encouragement,” Wyllie added. “We are all in. We know that these sacrifices give us a legitimate chance to restore prosperity and liberty to Florida.”
Wyllie ended his tour of craft breweries across the Sunshine State in Tampa on Wednesday. During the tour, Wyllie focused on how regulations enacted in Tallahassee hurt small businesses.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN