The Florida Democratic Party claims a poll conducted last month by a political committee that had been associated with Gov. Rick Scott’s shows more than Scott holding a 1 point lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the race for the U.S. Senate. The Democrats say it shows the committee, New Republican PAC, violated federal election law.
The Democrats say it’s not the poll numbers that are relevant, but rather the dates the poll was conducted.
The poll’s summary, which is being sent out to Scott’s supporters, is dated March 29 with the actual poll conducted March 10-13. Democrats say those dates fall well before April 9 when Scott announced his candidacy for the Senate. Prior to April, the political committee’s mission was re-inventing the Republican Party to appeal to younger and Hispanic voters and support the agenda of President Donald Trump.
The complaint charges that the “very same day that Scott declared his federal candidacy, the Committee revamped its website, suddenly transforming itself from a committee dedicated to supporting President Trump to one dedicated to supporting Scott. This timing cannot be mere coincidence.”
The complaint, filed by the Democratic-leaning group, End Citizens United, charges that prior to April 9, “it appears as if [Scott] has been using the Committee to improperly pay for expenses associated with his exploratory activities and his candidacy for Senate.”
The Florida Democratic Party claims the dates on the poll summary are proof of a violation of election law by the Scott campaign.
“The dates of this poll are the latest piece of evidence demonstrating Scott will break the rules and game the system to advance his own political interests, just like he always,” the Democrats said in a statement sent out Thursday afternoon. “Self-serving, manipulative and dishonest, Scott has proven time and again that he will do anything to help himself, and now he needs to answer for this obvious and disturbing development. It’s another clear and telling demonstration why Floridians can’t trust Scott to look out for anyone but himself. ”,
The New Republican PAC was established last year.
According to the complaint, the PAC was a way for Scott to avoid federal restrictions on campaign fundraising while he put together his campaign to unseat Nelson.
The Scott campaign dismissed the claims of Florida Democrats saying they are nothing more than politically motivated charges.
“These are typical Democrat smear tactics,” said Ryan Patmintra, the communications director for the Scott campaign “When Democrats have a candidate with no record of accomplishments to run on, they go negative out of the gate. The fact is that Governor Scott has always, and will continue to, operate his campaign activity transparently and in accordance with the law. The only political entity the governor is in charge of is his campaign for U.S. Senate.”
Patmintra says Scott is no longer associated with the committee.