By DONLYN TURNBULLFormer State Senator Dan Gelber pulled out the long guns Friday assailing Gov. Rick Scott over Heritage Property Insurance and Casualty Insurance donating $110,000 dollars to the Let’s Get to Work PAC which is said to have ties to Scott. The problem is, the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. voted last week to transfer policies to the young St. Petersburg company worth an estimated $52 million dollars over the course of the next year.
Governor Scott maintains he and his administration had nothing to do with the business transaction.
However, not to be ignored, the always politically active Gelber, who was notoriously defeated by Pam Bondi in the 2010 Florida attorney general election, shot off a letter to the Governor’s office Friday calling for Scott to return the $110,000 dollar campaign donation.
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But is the former politician simply laying the ground work for a future run with Charlie Crist as a potential running mate? Dan Gelber is assuming the bad cop position with his attack on Scott. He carefully ignores other facts concerning the Citizens and Heritage deal. Heritage is not the only insurance company Citizens entered into an agreement with. A similar deal has been secured with another company called Weston several months ago.
Another fact ignored is Citizens transferred policies to Heritage in October of 2012, long before the donation Heritage made this past March.
The Communications Director for Governor Scott, Melissa Sellers, released a statement to the Times/Herald this week dispelling the rumor the donation had anything to do with the business deal. “It is the responsibility of the Citizens Board to act in the best interest of their policyholders. We expect them to approve or disapprove of this risk transfer based solely on its merits,” Sellers said. “Anything short of that would harm Citizens policyholders and Florida residents who back Citizens policies. We have not, nor will we, direct them to act one way or another as they seek to protect Florida taxpayers.”Charlie Crist has yet to even announce a run for Governor, to which some speculate, allows him time to travel the state garnering support and delaying the time the GOP will have to unleash the negative blitzkrieg which will undoubtedly befall the beleaguered politician.
However, Gelber has quietly been making the proper introductions to would-be supporters of Crist including very recently the president of Miami-Dade’s teachers union, Fedrick Ingram. In an article this weekend the Miami Herald claimed Gerber “is a key player in what is essentially Crist’s exploratory campaign for governor.”
Gelber has recently begun the favorable rhetoric and attempt at future damage control referencing Crist as a “social moderate” even when he was the Republican governor, a myth quickly dispelled by the Shark-Tank in March.
It’s easy to assume any moves made currently by Crist and Gelber is nothing short of politically motivated. As far as Gelber is concerned, it only remains to be seen in what capacity. But the man, who ran for four different political positions within the span of 4 years, always seems to have his eyes on the next political prize. And it’s a very good chance his next target is Lieutenant Governor.