Florida’s Democratic candidates for governor are making a campaign issue of Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement Monday that he’s running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bill Nelson.
All four Democrats were quick to release statements following Scott’s announcement condemning his record in office.
The campaign of former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine even released a digital ad (also see below) criticizing decisions made by Scott during his administration, including the rejection of $2.4 billion in federal money to build a high speed train in Florida, refusing to expand Medicaid to provide health care to more Floridians and trying to cut education funding.
“Floridians are fed up after eight years of a governor whose legacy is mired by playing politics with peoples’ healthcare, and slashing public school budgets early on,” commented Christian Ulvert, senior advisor to the Levine campaign. “With half of Florida’s counties seeing their economies go backwards, it’s time we reverse Rick Scott’s agenda with new leadership under a governor that reflects the values of the people in our state and who will put progress over politics.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham was quick to attack Scott for his support of President Donald Trump. Graham released a video last week calling Trump a “bully” and an “embarrassment.” Trump had urged Scott to run for the Senate seat.
“In Washington, Rick Scott would be another Trump lap dog,” Graham said in a written statement. “When Trump attacks Florida’s immigrants, Rick Scott won’t stand up for them. When Trump commands Scott to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he’ll enthusiastically obey. And when Trump wants to drill off our beaches, Rick Scott will roll over.”
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum fired off a tweet critical of Scott.
“It’s been a long eight years under Rick Scott — skyrocketing healthcare costs, assault weapon violence, rural communities crumbling, education funding dwindling, and civil rights being denied. Good riddance. Let’s win this one, @NelsonForSenate,” Gillum tweeted.
And Orlando-area businessman Chris King was especially critical of Scott for choosing Orlando–the site of the Pulse nightclub where 49 people were killed in a mass shooting two years ago– to make his announcement.
“Rick Scott launching his campaign from Orlando takes some gall –– 612 days passed between the shootings at Pulse and Parkland and Governor Scott did nothing to keep Floridians safe,” King stated. “Just like the rest of the Tallahassee establishment, Rick Scott is only looking out for himself –– that’s why he gave tax breaks to wealthy and powerful millionaires like himself while slashing education spending and refusing federal help for hundreds of thousands of Floridians without health insurance.”
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia came to the defense of his party’s standard-bearer.
“The Republican Party of Florida congratulates Gov. Rick Scott on announcing his run for the U.S. Senate. With this announcement, Scott adds his name to a Republican field of statewide candidates this midterm election that is boasting with incredibly qualified contenders,” Ingoglia said. “Floridians have seen, first hand, effective leadership from Scott and come November they will reward him by sending Senator Bill Nelson into retirement. Therefore, we welcome Scott into the U.S. Senate race and look forward to a campaign with the right vision for Florida and this nation.”