Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crist Dings Scott in New Ad Campaign; but Political Observers Are Still Waiting to See If He Runs for Governor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crist Dings Scott in New Ad Campaign; but Political Observers Are Still Waiting to See If He Runs for Governor

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Dixon

TALLAHASSEE | Politics is so very confusing.

For months, Gov. Rick Scott's main talking point has been "It's working." He uses the line to underscore Florida's job creation numbers and rebounding economy.

If you ask the governor any question - "Hey, governor, what color is the sky?" - he finds a way to include "it's working" in his answer.

Just ask any reporter; the line can be applied to nearly every question.

But, now, a campaign-style ad cut by former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is leaving Florida's political observers scratching their heads. Apparently, it's not as cut and dried as Scott wants us to believe.

"It is not working," said Crist, his words set against mellow guitar music. "Only you the people can end this nonsense."

More than just contrasting political rhetoric, the Friday campaign ad represents the first real campaign-style appearance Crist, now a Democrat, has made.

In it, he assumes a friendly tone, but takes shots at Scott for putting donors "above you, the people," and taking about the Scott administration's vote purge. The current governor, though, is not mentioned by name.

It would be a shocking turn of events if Crist did not file to run for governor as a Democrat, but so far he has kept most people guessing.

The release of the 30-second web ad, coupled with the re-launch of CharlieCrist.com, has spurred new speculation. Many now think Crist could announce as early as the first week of November.

During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, top Republican officials were sharpening their knives in anticipation of a Crist announcement.

"Charlie Crist just can't be trusted," said Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

Like many Republicans, Day has some bad blood after working on Crist's Republican U.S. Senate campaign. After Marco Rubio entered the race, Crist dropped his party label and ran with no party affiliation.

Many of his Republican donors, including Day, asked for their money back, but Crist never gave refunds. The conference call came on the eve of the Florida Democratic Party's statewide conference, one of its biggest.

Expect even Democrats who have been skeptical of the former Republican to fully embrace the party's best hope at winning the governor's mansion.

BILL SEEKS INFORMATION ON TAX INCENTIVES

A Miami-Dade lawmaker offered a proposal on Friday that could shed more light on the effects of tax incentives offered by the state to try to boost economic development.

Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat and certified public accountant, filed a bill (HB 219) that would require the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research to produce an annual report that would list tax incentives or other measures designed to stimulate the economy by reducing business taxes. …

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