by Javier Manjarres
The Republican Gubernatorial debate AG Bill McCollum and Rick Scott began and ended as most expected it to-with too much mudslinging. From the start, McCollum began the attacks on Scott’s involvement with Columbia/HCA fraud matter. Scott jabbed back at McCollum calling him a “desperate career politician”. McCollum, to my ear, comes across as a bit over the top with his attacks. It seems that whenever McCollum gave an answer to almost every question, his answer somehow way made its way back to to the HCA issue. Scott stayed on message, didn’t deviate too much from his talking points, and he countered effectively when he struck back at McCollum with the answer that contained the prior quote I just mentioned.
While McCollum’s experience gives him a greater command of certain issues as well as the inner-workings of government, McCollum has had a tendency to over rely on name dropping, and his attacks on Scott come across as over the top and not well measured. In answering a question about the economy and job creation, McCollum dropped the names of Steve Forbes and Ronald Reagan. I also noticed this habit at week’s Miami GOP Lincoln Day Dinner, where McCollum dropped the names of all of his endorsements- Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and others.
The Republican electorate is split between the establishment and its supporters vs. the Party’s rank and file members that have had enough with the business as usual in both Tallahassee and in Washington.D.C. It is not a stretch to say that at this time, the residents of voters in Florida are more concerned with the economy and job creation than anything else, and this would likely favor Scott, based on the two candidates’ prior polling numbers on the economy. Both men have put forth good ideas as to how to grow the economy and cut government to create these jobs, the outcome of this primary will be a matter of which candidate can better sell their economic plan to a clearly concerned public in the remaining weeks. Recent polls have showed Scott leading McCollum, but the latest poll released has McCollum within the margin error, so this race is clearly up for grabs.
Watch the debate here: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/state/scott-mccollum-trade-attacks-in-debate-08052010