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Rick Scott's Campaign in Chaos: Finance Chair's Sudden Departure Shuts Down Press Conference

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This morning, Rick Scott’s campaign shut down a press conference amid harsh questioning about Finance Co-Chair Mike Fernandez’s sudden departure and what the Miami Herald has dubbed the “Mexican-accent controversy.” The event was designed to announce the campaign’s newest attack ad, but instead served only to highlight Scott’s miserable record on issues important to Hispanic voters.
Last summer, Rick Scott told the right-wing National Review that he would win reelection – not on the strength of his record – but because he would spend $25 million to “define my opponent.” Now, even that desperate plan has gone awry.
Here’s a rundown of why Rick Scott is so unpopular with Hispanic voters:
2011: Scott, GOP Legislature Cut $1.3 Billion In Education Funding. Politifact reported on Scott’s “$1 billion in new education funding,” calling it “a bit of a red herring. The money, which was included in the 2012-13 state budget… does not make up for the $1.3 billion in cuts the Republican Legislature and Scott passed in 2011. (As a matter of fact, Scott originally proposed even larger cuts but was rebuked by Republican lawmakers who found the size of the cuts untenable.)” [PolitiFact Florida, 4/18/12]
Scott Pledged To Bring “Arizona-Style Immigration Law” To Florida. In January 2011Miami Herald reported, “Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign pledge to bring an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida faces an uncertain future in the Legislature, with the bill’s chief Senate sponsor expressing doubts about the controversial measure.” [Miami Herald, 1/10/11]
…But GOP-Controlled Senate Defeated Scott’s Plan For Immigration. The Miami Herald reported, “In an emotional debate where senators choked up and recalled the struggles of their immigrant forebears, the Florida Senate on Tuesday unexpectedly defeated one of Gov. Rick Scott’s pledges to crack down on illegal immigration…The vote was a big defeat for Scott, who made E-Verify a top priority during his Republican primary race, saying that all businesses in the state should use the program. Scott had also promised an Arizona-style immigration law that essentially required local police to double as immigration agents. Amid fears of racial profiling, the Senate refused to take up that provision.” [Miami Herald, 4/28/11]
Florida Governor Rick Scott Vetoed Temporary Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers. In 2013, Gov. Rick Scott “vetoed a bill that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to get temporary Florida driver’s licenses, a decision that may bolster his standing among immigration hard-liners but could hurt him among Hispanic voters. The vetoed measure, informally known to supporters as the ‘Dream Act Driver License’ law, passed the Legislature by a nearly unanimous vote. It would have applied to young people covered by President Barack Obama’s 2012 policy affecting noncitizens brought to the U.S. illegally as children, which suspended any deportation action against them for a two-year period.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/4/13]
Hundreds Found To Be Citizens In Scott Voter Purge. “It was Republican Gov. Rick Scott who first initiated the push last year to have Florida election officials look for non-U.S. citizens on the voter rolls. But many county election officials began raising questions about the accuracy of the state’s list of 2,600 names when more than 500 voters turned out to be citizens. The U.S. Department of Justice sued to block the purge, saying it could not take place within 90 days of an election, but a federal judge in Tallahassee refused to block the effort. But even with that ruling there are still three active lawsuits targeting the purge.” [St. Augustine Record, 9/13/12]
Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Scott’s Voter Purge List “Disproportionately filled with… Hispanics and African-Americans.” The Tampa Bay Times opined, “It is no surprise that the state’s list of potentially ineligible voters is disproportionately filled with Democrats, Hispanics and African-Americans. What is surprising is that a Republican governor who claims to represent all Floridians and demands data-driven results stubbornly refuses to abandon such a fundamentally flawed, unfair effort.” [Tampa Bay Times, 9/28/12]
Scott Said Immigrants Responsible for Costing State Billions. “Gov. Rick Scott, who faces a tough re-election campaign in which Hispanic voters could play a pivotal role… Scott blamed such immigrants for costing the state ‘countless billions’ and taking jobs from U.S. residents.” [Associated Press, 2/24/14]