RPOF and Florida Democrats Trade Punches Over Insults to Hispanics
Around the State
Florida’s two major parties dug in on Monday and continued hurling attacks over a report that Mike Fernandez, who had been Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign finance co-chair, resigned due to campaign aides doing an over-the-top Mexican accent around him.
Fernandez resigned his post on Thursday night. The Miami Herald is reporting that Fernandez quit in part due to the aides’ behavior. The Scott team, including Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, insists that nobody on the campaign has done anything like that.
Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), weighed in on Monday afternoon, insisting the Democrats have been the party treating Hispanics badly and making fun of them. Curry pointed toward congressional candidate former state CFO Alex Sink’s comment at a candidate forum at the end of February that immigration reform was needed for “people to work to clean our hotel rooms or do our landscaping.”
Curry also cited former Gov. Charlie Crist’s comment that politicians need to “stand up to that small Cuban community” in South Florida when it comes to dealing with the Castro regime. Despite spending most of his political life as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott in November.
“Today I call on all Florida Democrats to condemn the myriad of actual insults that have been continually hurled at the Florida Hispanic community by members of their own party,” Curry said. “These comments are insulting and intolerable and they should be harshly condemned.”
A spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party looked to tie the Scott campaign’s denials to their candidate’s tenure at Columbia/HCA. When Scott led that company, Columbia/HCA was forced to pay the largest Medicare fraud fine ever to the federal government.
Joshua Karp, a spokesman for the Florida Democrats, insisted on Monday the Scott campaign is hiding the truth.
“This is what a cover-up looks like,” Karp said. “The truth is clear: a van full of Rick Scott’s campaign staffers made racist jokes about Hispanics. But Rick Scott is so desperate to win re-election, he and his team won’t take an ounce of responsibility. They’ll just try to sweep it under the rug.
“Rick Scott’s policies have disrespected Florida’s Hispanics for three years,” Karp added. “Now it’s clear that’s not just Rick Scott’s idea of good public policy -- his blatant disrespect for Hispanics is clearly his idea of good campaign politics.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.