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October 2014

Florida Democrats react to report that Rick Scott is spending millions on campaign

Earlier today, Crowley Political Report told you that Republican Governor Rick Scott may be about to drop up to $22 million of his own money into his reelection campaign. Both Scott's campaign and the Florida Republican Party said, "no comment."

Both Republican and Democratic sources said they have knowledge of Scott's contribution to his campaign. We'll soon know if it it true.

Earlier in the campaign Scott said he did not intend to spend any of his own money to win reelection. It will be interesting if Scott changed his mind.

Meanwhile, Democrat Charlie Crist's campaign just sent out this statement.

Statement from Crist for Governor Communications Director Brendan Gilfillan on Rick Scott's Reported Self-Funding

"It's ironic that on the same day Rick Scott's campaign releases an ad about wealth, we hear he has written a $22 million check to his campaign to blanket Florida airwaves for the last two and a half weeks of the election. That is serious money - and no doubt he's hoping it'll help paper over his calamitous debate performance. 
"He won't confirm it, but since his party is losing faith in him Rick Scott is reportedly funding his campaign himself these days. With money he earned as CEO of...well, you know. This is despite him telling Florida voters he wouldn't need to self-fund his re-election campaign. Presumably because the $75 million he spent last time around would convince Floridians to really, really like him.
"The question is, what could he possibly expect the next $22 million in lying TV ads going to get him that the first $125 million didn't?"


The Charlie Crist Fan gets its own campaign ad

In fairness, the small whisper quiet fan that Democrat Charlie Crist uses would never sound like the one depicted in the Florida Democratic Party ad. 

As far as we know, fans are still banned at next Tuesday's CNN debate. But FanGate lives on. 


Florida Republican say Charlie Crist is rich and out of touch in new ad

This ad is fascinating. It attempts to portray Charlie Crist has a guy who grew up rich. There are scenes of a house that could be found in Palm Beach. Crist is shown stepping off a private jet as if it is the family plane. 

The ad is, to put it mildly, a bit of a stretch. Crist did grow up in nice home in St. Petersburg where his father was a medical doctor. But his lifestyle was not and has not been anything like it is portrayed in this ad.

One can find a lot of faults with Crist but a desire to make money has never been one of them. During most his political career, Crist has mostly had just his government salary. And he has lived in a small condo in St. Petersburg that he has rented for years.

His biggest financial step forward was when he married his wife Carole, a wealthy businesswoman.

The irony of course is that the rich candidate is Republican Governor Rick Scott who spend $70 million of his own money to win in 2010 and his rumored to be about to spend another $20 million to win this year. 

Not many folks have $90 million they can spend on political campaigns.

Here's the ad:


Is Rick Scott about to spend $20 million of his own money to defeat Charlie Crist

Both Rick Scott's campaign and the Florida Republican Party have offered "no comment" to a Crowley Political Report question about whether the Governor is about to dip into his bank account to the tune of $20 million to spend on his effort to defeat Democrat Charlie Crist.

A Republican source confirms the $20 million, while a Democratic source says the word last week was that Scott would spend $22 million.

Scott campaign spokesman Greg Blair replied to a Crowley Political Report email with: "No comment here." And Florida GOP spokeswoman Susan Hepworth replied, "no comment."

Neither of those replies suggest that the Scott rumor is true.

Throughout the campaign, despite prodigious fundraising, it has been expected that Scott, who spent more than $70 million of his own money to win in 2010, would again dip into his coffers to boost his campaign in the final weeks.

It will be interesting to hear what Scott says the next time he is asked about using his own money for the campaign. Even if he says he is not using his money, the rumor is not likely to be put to rest until all the campaign finance disclosures are completed.

Meanwhile, both Republicans and Democrats continue to speculate about the cash. Is it real, or just an effort to spook the Crist campaign?


Art by Patrick Crowley Copyright Crowley Political Report

Rick Scott tries to explain FanGate to CNN

Florida Governor Rick Scott sat down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer to give his version of what happen during FanGate. 

To be generous, some of Scott's explanation rings odd. Perhaps the most important news came when Blitzer assured Scott that fan will not be allowed at the CNN debate next Tuesday in Jacksonville.

Scott said he doesn't care what Charlie Crist brings to the debate. He suggested Crist could bring a humidifier or microwave.

One relief for Scott was the fact that the debate organizers - Leadership Florida and Florida Press Association - agreed that Crist did violate the rules by plugging in small fan under his podium.

Here's what Scott told Blitzer. 

What should Rick Scott do now about Charlie Crist and FanGate

Every election cycle folks ask - who is going to win? One reason it is a difficult question to answer is that despite polls, gazzillion dollar campaigns, field operations, get-out-the-vote drives, endless television commercials and all the other things that are part of campaigning - one silly mistake can destroy a candidate.

The real question right now is this - did Florida Governor Rick Scott's refusal to take the debate stage last night do his campaign irreparable harm? And is there anything he can do to stop it?

A compilation of news videos put together by American Bridge - an outfit that actively campaigns against Scott - accurately reflects the tone of the Florida and national coverage of what is being called FanGate.

Scott refused to come onstage during a live, statewide television debate because his opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist, had sneaked in a fan to be tucked under the podium gently sending cooling air up his suit.

Leadership Florida and Florida Press Association, the debate organizers, said today that Crist violated the rules by having his ever present fan with him. 

But was that enough of a reason for a sitting governor to refuse to go onstage during a live debate - Charlie has a fan and I'm mad.

Whether you agree with Scott or not, his refusal to come onstage for almost 7 minutes made him look petulant and silly. And he is getting killed in the state and national press. FanGate has gone viral on social media.

So far, the Scott campaign seems to be struggling to get ahead of the story. And it is not like FanGate is going away anytime soon. There is a final debate Tuesday on CNN raising the question - Fan or No Fan?

Scott needs to put the fan behind him. He should allow Crist to have his fan. In fact, Scott should walk on the CNN stage and present Crist with a fan.

After the debate, some of the Republicans leaving the hall were wringing their hands and shaking their heads over Scott's refusal to come onstage.

Continue reading "What should Rick Scott do now about Charlie Crist and FanGate" »

Charlie Crist campaign wastes no time using FanGate to raise money

Shortly after Governor Rick Scott finally walked on stage after refusing to participate in the debate with Charlie Crist because of a small fan Crist had at his feet, the Crist campaign sent out this email.

Friend --

I wasn't planning on emailing you tonight. But something crazy just happened...

Moments before the debate was scheduled to begin, Rick Scott decided he wasn't going to participate. 

Why? Because there was a fan at Charlie's podium. A fan. 

For seven incredible minutes just now, Charlie stood all alone at the podium while Rick Scott threw a temper tantrum backstage, denying the people of Florida the chance to hear from their gubernatorial candidates because of -- literally -- a breeze. 

Scott finally caved and decided to join the debate. But the fact that this sideshow happened at all is an embarrassment to our great state and fellow citizens. 

If you're as amazed as I am by what you just saw, chip in a few bucks right now to make sure this guy doesn't get to stay our Governor:

We'll be back in touch after the debate concludes. 



Omar Khan
Campaign Manager
Charlie Crist for Governor

Florida Governors Debate we have an extremely peculiar situation

There have been many strange debate moment in Florida's political history, this will surely rank as one of them.

Florida Governor Rick Scott refused to take the stage because Charlie Crist had his ever present fan at his feet behind the podium.

"Ladies and gentlemen we have an extremely peculiar situation right now," said debate moderator Eliot Rodriguez of CBS4.

There are boos from the crowd. Crist comes on stage. Rodriquez, and panelists Rosemary Goudreau of the Sun Sentinel, and Frank Denton of the Florida Times Union, wonder if the rules allow a fan.

Scott remains off stage for a number of minutes.

It is all rather odd. Finally he comes out and the hour-long statewide television debate begins.

See the video of the opening moments. It begins with a Spanish Crist ad. 


One way to turn a Florida governor debate into an oops

Sixty years ago, one of the most embarrassing moments in a Florida gubernatorial debate took place between Democratic candidates Charlie Johns and LeRoy Collins.

This was 1954 and the Democratic nominee would be the certain victor. Republicans were an afterthought until 1960 when Claude Kirk became the first GOP candidate to win since Reconstruction.

Johns became acting governor, after the untimely death of Dan McCarty of Fort Pierce. There was no lieutenant governor and Johns was Senate President. A special election was held and LeRoy Collins would go on to become one of Florida most revered governors.

During this debate, perhaps Florida's first televised debate, Collins reads from an advertisement in the Miami Herald saying Johns had whipped Collins during the debate.

The problem - it was an early edition of the morning newspaper and the debate had not yet taken place.

Collins nails Johns. 

Johns squirms. 

Stephen Colbert rips Rick Scott and say yes ad

Flipped on Stephen Colbert last night and nearly fell on the floor after watching Colbert rip into the College Republicans "Say Yes to Rick Scott" ad which used a wedding dress theme.

After some caustic comments about Scott, Colbert offers his own version of the Say Yes ad.

Let's just say that Colbert took it down a slightly different direction.

It is brutal. 


And here is the original College Republican ad which was widely accused of treating women like dunderheads. 


Jeb Bush does a tame ad for Rick Scott

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says the choice for him on election day is easy - he'll be voting for Republican Rick Scott over Democrat Charlie Crist.

We'll give you a moment to catch you breath at this shocking news.

Okay. Bush doing a ad for Scott is not exactly a surprise. It is actually a pretty tame ad. Cleary Bush was unwilling to get into the daily political knife fight that has characterized the race for governor.

Bush takes a shot at Crist but it could have been far worse.


Charlie Crist ad says Rick Scott broke his promise on jobs

Continuing his series of "Rick Scott is too shady for the Sunshine State" television ads, Democrat Charlie Crist brings up an old issue about the Republican's 2010 campaign promise about creating jobs.

At the time, Scott said he would add 700,000 jobs "on top of what normal growth would be." Soon after making that pledge, Scott not only backpedaled but denied he ever made the original statement.

Scott is sort of fascinating in his ability to deny he said something that he clearly said during a televised debate. Yet despite the video, Scott insists that he really meant he was going to add 700,000 jobs but not in addition to normal growth.

Despite the step back, few would disagree that Scott has focused his efforts on creating jobs in Florida. Some have questioned how many new jobs are the result of Scott's efforts. Many would argue jobs came with a growing state economy that had little to do with Scott's work.

This ad is a continuation of the nasty campaign that has been waged by both candidates. 


Rick Scott invites Obama to campaign in Florida for Charlie Crist

Florida's race for governor may be heading deeply into the if you vote for Charlie Crist you are voting for President Obama territory.

With the President deep into the barrel of public disaprroval, turning him into a surrogate candidate has been a popular ploy in House and Senate races around the country.

Democrat Patrick Murphy has been tagged with Obama by his Republican rival Carl Domino in Florida 18th congressional district. So far, it does not appear to be helping Domino who appears to be having a difficult time surpassing Murphy who has run a well-financied and masterful campaign.

Today, Governor Rick Scott taunted Crist - politically infamous for the Obama/Crist hug - for not encouraging Obama to campaign for him in the Sunshine State.

Scott's hooks his comment on a line in Wall Street Journal story saying the Crist campaign has become wary of an Obama visit.

From a Scott press release:

Governor Rick Scott released the following statement today after the media reported Charlie Crist is “now wary of inviting Mr. Obama to publicly appear with him out of concern that it would shift the focus of the race from local issues to national ones.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/10/14)

Governor Rick Scott: “Our state is turning around because we have done the exact opposite of Washington. We threw out the Crist-Obama playbook of higher taxes, more debt and more spending. We made government get out of the way of Florida job creators by undoing Charlie Crist’s tax increases and 15 percent year-after-year tuition hikes on college students. The results of our pro-growth policies are clear – businesses have created more than 640,000 new jobs. And even though we have more work to do to get every Florida family working again, I hope President Obama can make a trip to the Sunshine State soon to see the results of our pro-growth policies – even if he is not invited on the campaign trail with Charlie Crist.”

One wonders if Scott is asking former President George W. Bush to campaign for him here.

Maybe we could have Bush and Obama on the same day. Now that would be interesting.


What Twitter is saying about Florida Governor debate

About to start the pre-taped debate of the FL gov debate on Telemundo that will be broadcast in full in Spanish only @ 7 that few will see

Dramatic music. Here. we. go. #debate2014

Before the debate even starts Rick Scott is judging his performance.

Screens have gone blank in press room for Fla gov. debate. Groans all around from reporters.#pbgovdebate

For you undecided voters, @FLGovScott has a red tie, @CharlieCrist a blue one #debate2014

First answer from Crist re: why his favorables are so low: Scott's negative ads, Scott opposes minimum wage etc.

.@FLGovScott: "I got elected on a program to turn the state around...It's clearly working."

Scott calls Crist a 'mudslinger.'

Continue reading "What Twitter is saying about Florida Governor debate" »

Has Florida cut too much?

Note: This is a very interesting look at what is happening to Florida's ability to provide services to its citizens from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. 

Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Over the last decade, Florida has shed thousands of state jobs, the consequence of a poor economy and a political philosophy at work. The result has affected how well agencies that protect everything from children to the environment can do their jobs.

 According to a workforce report compiled by the state, while the nationwide average number of state workers per 10,000 in population was 211 in 2012, Florida had just 111 that year. That’s almost half the national average.

The state’s population has grown by 4 million since 1998. Its budget has increased by $25 billion since 2000. Yet Florida has almost 10,000 fewer established positions in the State’s Personnel System, State University System, State Legislature, Courts System and Justice Administration combined, than it did 15 years ago.

This means Florida’s government has been operating at its lowest staffing levels in almost two decades.

Even as the economy rebounds, state government isn’t growing with it.

This has largely been the result of a predominately Republican Legislature, and three Republican governors since the late 1990s – all of whom campaigned on promises to shrink government.

As a result, public agencies tasked with protecting vulnerable children, monitoring waterways and providing benefits to Floridians who have fallen on hard times, are struggling to fulfill their mandates.

Read the full report here.

New Crist ad asks give Charlie and me a chance

Just hours before the taping of the first debate between Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican Rick Scott, the Crist campaign revealed its new ad featuring running mate Annette Taddeo.

It is an appeal to working mothers and Taddeo does very well.

Reminder: The candidates begin taping the Telemundo debate at 11 a.m. The debate will air tonight at 7 p.m. 


Adrian Wyllie is not a serious candidate for Florida governor

You probably know nothing about Adrian Wyllie. And why should you? After all, Wyllie is,to  put it gently, never going to win the Florida governor's race.

Let's pretend for a moment to take him seriously. He has raised a whopping $85,000 and spent $72,000. That means he has about $13,000 left to spend on statewide television ads during the final weeks of the campaign.

Oh - you haven't seen Wyllie's ads? That would be because there are none.

Wyllie is this cycle's Libertarian candidate. Some polls show him getting 10 percent or more of the vote in a three way contest with Republican Governor Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist.

Now let's understand that 10 percent. These folks would tell pollsters they are voting for a cat before they vote for Scott or Crist. They do not know or care about Wyllie. They are simply poll protesting.

Many of these same voters are just as likely to vote for Scott or Crist on election day. A few may actually vote for Willie or the other seven write-in/no party candidates who qualified to run for governor.

Here's a Wyllie fun fact:

On July 4, 2011, Wyllie sent a letter to all of Florida’s 67 sheriffs urging them to arrest Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents who violate the US and Florida Constitutions, as well as statutes regarding sexual battery as it applies to individual TSA employees during enhanced pat-down procedures. (Wikipedia).

Now, Wyllie is suing to get himself included in the three gubernatorial debates. Clearly, he believes that he should be taken seriously as a candidate.

He may succeed. 

In 2006, Max Linn, with an equally improbable campaign, mangaged to sue his way into a debate between Democratic candidate for governor Jim Davis and then Republican candidate Charlie Crist.

Linn did a fine job of disrupting the debate. 

Maybe Wyllie should get a shot - it might be fun to watch how Scott and Crist react.

But beyond that, there is no reason to believe Wyllie is serious about becoming governor. It would be an insult to him to pretend that he has the slight chance in hell of winning.