by Javier Manjarres
With about two months left to go until the Republican Gubernatorial primary election, candidates Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum are flooding the airwaves with a barrage of negative campaign ads directed at each other, and the two are stepping up their attacks as they close in on the August 24th primary. The latest Quinnipiac Poll has Scott 13 points ahead of McCollum, and the latest Rasmussen Poll has Scott polling stronger against likely Democrat candidate Alex Sink.
The McCollum campaign has been trying to counter Rick Scott’s very effective advertising blitz with a series of negative ads portraying Rick Scott as a “Fraud” and worse. First, the McCollum Campaign attacked Scott about what occurred during his tenure as CEO of Columbia/HCA was under investigation for Medicare fraud, and later paid the largest fine in U.S. history after Scott left the company. Many would say, including myself, that the buck stops with the boss, and to his credit, Scott has not run from the issue. Michael Putney of Channel 10 News recently evaluated McCollum’s television ad and rendered the opinion that “the anti-Scott ad is for the most part, false.”
The next McCollum ad attacks Scott for investing in a corporation that provided pre-paid phone cards to money transfers and focused on Latin American markets. The kicker is that the company in question , Emida Technologies partnered with another company named IPP, which is involved in helping migrant workers in the Arizona send money back and pay their bills back in Mexico. In a recent press release, the McCollum campaign makes this assertion:
“Rick Scott says he wants to crack down on illegal immigration, but now we find out he has been profiting from illegal immigrants. While it’s clear we can’t trust anything Rick Scott or his commercials say. One thing is certain. Rick Scott is a fraud whose public image repair team won’t be able to buy the support of Florida voters.”
Scott has been very successful attacking McCollum for his dismissal of the recently passed Arizona Immigration Law, hammering him for saying that “We don’t need that law in Florida, that’s not what is going to happen here.” McCollum originally stated his support of the amended version of the bill, but afterwards he made this gaffe which has cost him dearly.
Here is the Rick Scott video addressing AG McCollum’s statement:
Now, McCollum is accused of being in cahoots with a PAC that is running attack ads on Rick Scott. The National Journal’s Hotline Blog is reporting potential collusion between McCollum’s campaign and the mysterious PAC, Florida’s First Initiative.
Rick Scott recently granted an interview with the Shark Tank that you can view here, whereas AG Bill McCollum has yet to find the time to put on his swim trunks and jump in the Tank, but we remain optimistic that McCollum will join us very shortly. Regardless, we expect this race to get even uglier if the polling trends continue in Scott’s favor. We expect that Scott will go for the jugular and attempt to finish McCollum off in the first two debates, whereas McCollum may not be able to find the proverbial silver-bullet ad that will enable him to mount a comeback and this primary race. The Shark Tank would prefer it if the two combatants keep it above the belt the remainder of this primary campaign. While negative campaign ads are part and parcel of politics, false and misleading ads are counterproductive and will harm Republicans’ chances to retain the governorship. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the forthcoming political ads put out by the respective campaigns here at the Shark Tank.