July 27, 2014

To woo Florida Keys voters, Carlos Curbelo brings out big gun: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami Republican congressional candidate Carlos Curbelo is getting a little help from a friend to campaign to Florida Keys voters.

A new television ad to begin airing this week features Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- the popular Miami Republican who represented the Keys for a decade before her seat was redrawn two years ago -- introducing her former constituents to Curbelo, a Miami-Dade School Board member whom she has endorsed. Curbelo is running to challenge Democrat Joe Garcia for the 26th congressional district, which extends from Kendall to Key West.

"He's an education innovator and a small businessman," Ros-Lehtinen says in the ad. "Carlos is part of the next generation who will work to protect our natural wonders, our fishermen and our economy."

It's Curbelo's third TV spot, timed to start the same week as absentee ballots are scheduled to be mailed to voters for the Aug. 26 primary. Rival Ed MacDougall, the Cutler Bay mayor, has also been airing ads. The other GOP hopefuls are former Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez and attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck.

 

That IRS "investigation" tied to Annette Taddeo? Well, there really isn't one.

A governor’s race doesn’t seem to go by in Florida without Democrats ending up in a circular firing squad.

A disgruntled Nan Rich supporter was the unwitting bullet this time.

Angered with the way the Miami-Dade Democratic Executive Committee treated her, party member Barbara Walters secretly filed an obscure tax complaint with the IRS last October — and then she leaked the information recently to a conservative-website columnist dedicated to tearing down Crist.

The story targeted the county party’s leader, Annette Taddeo, just after Crist coincidentally chose her to be his running mate.

IRS Investigating a 537 Consulting-Related, Tax-Violations Complaint Against Annette Taddeo, read the Sunshine State News headline, which wondered why the mainstream news media wasn’t looking into the case.

For starters, the complaint about employee classification for tax purposes is without merit, experts say.

And the story’s headline is false.

There is no IRS “investigation,” federal law-enforcement sources confirmed to the Miami Herald. Also, the story drips with hyperbole, misleading innuendo and, in one case, a statement that Walters said is “totally inaccurate.”

Column here

YouGov FL poll (internet): Rick Scott leads Charie Crist 48%-43%

@MarcACaputo

A new New York Times/CBS YouGov poll of Florida voters shows Gov. Rick Scott edges Democrat Charlie Crist by about 5 percentage points -- a spread that mirrors the Republican's internal polling but conflicts with two recent public polls showing the challenger leading or tied.

There's one big difference between YouGov's and the other surveys -- it's an internet poll, a method of gauging public opinion that's relatively new. 

The other polls from Quinnipiac University (Crist up by 5; but 2 when Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is in the race), SurveyUSA (Crist by 6) and Fabrizio, Lee (Scott up by 5, or 4 with Wyllie in) were all conducted by telephone. Of them, SurveyUSA was the only pollster to use so-called 'robo-polling' (also known as IVR) instead of live callers. To supplement the loss of cellphone voters (essentially un-pollable by IVR), SurveyUSA uses a smart-phone-based internet questionairre.

The crosstabs of the YouGov survey are below

Yougov

GOP mum on all those trips to King Ranch

@craigtimes

@mikevansickler

On a Friday in February 2013, Gov. Rick Scott stepped aboard a Texas-bound plane to take part in a secret ritual for Florida's power elite.

As other politicians had done before and would do after, Scott was departing for historic King Ranch, one of North America's premier hunting grounds. The trips, records indicate, were financed all or in part with contributions from Florida's sugar industry, right down to the hunting licenses.

Scott won't answer questions about his trip. After weeks of requests from the Times/Herald, his campaign staff released a one-paragraph statement on Friday saying he had gone to King Ranch "in support of his political fundraising efforts."

Also keeping mum: state House leaders who have accepted similar trips in the past three years, ever since U.S. Sugar leased 30,000 acres at the ranch and built a hunting lodge amid its rolling hills.

Read story here.

100 days out, Rick Scott's campaign says data already show a win

@MarcACaputo

Another gauntlet thrown --- the Rick Scott 100 Days Out campaign memo:

DATE: July 27, 2014
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Melissa Sellers, Campaign Manager and Tim Saler, Deputy Campaign Manager
SUBJECT: 100 Days Out, Gov. Scott Campaign is Poised to Win

Today marks 100 days until Election Day on November 4. Though we have worked hard from the beginning, today kicks off the final stretch of our campaign to re-elect Governor Scott. As we enter the sprint to the finish line, the Scott campaign has outpaced, outworked, and outmatched Charlie Crist in every measurable way. Make no mistake – no one works harder than Rick Scott, and that is exactly why he is poised to win a second term in office and keep Florida growing.

Fundraising: Since January 1, 2013, the combined efforts of our campaign, Let’s Get to Work, and the Republican Party of Florida have raised an astonishing $84 million. In the 2nd quarter of 2014 alone, our joint efforts raised $14.7 million. The outpouring of support for the Governor’s re-election is encouraging, but we will continue to arm ourselves with the funding necessary to fight against the continued smear campaign of personal attacks from Charlie Crist. After all, the Governor is not just running against Charlie Crist – he is running against the Obama machine, the trial lawyers, and every other liberal special interest that wants to take control of our state.

Field Program: Our commitment to a robust field program is unmatched. We have opened 49 offices and have thousands of volunteers working across Florida every day – talking to their neighbors, organizing their communities, and getting Governor Rick Scott re-elected this November. In fact, our volunteers have already knocked on over 350,000 targeted doors, an accomplishment that was not reached until after Labor Day in the 2012 presidential campaign. With our early focus on face-to-face, door-to-door, targeted voter contact, we believe we are on the path to execute the most sophisticated and successful direct voter engagement campaign in Florida history. With new technology in place, we collect data from each voter interaction in real time and adjust our voter contact programs based on constant feedback. The Crist field program thus far is amusingly small.

Advertising: Let’s Get to Work and the Republican Party of Florida have joined together to invest more than $18 million in early advertising – including $1.4 million on Spanish-language ads. This early advertising has been well received by the public – as voters remember how badly Charlie Crist mismanaged Florida’s economy and budget. Crist’s strategy of attempting to coast into office based only on his charm is being dismantled as Floridians realize that he is devoid of any plan or vision for Florida’s future. Crist’s attempts to have no discussion of his record as governor have been thwarted.
Florida voters now have a net unfavorable opinion of Crist, something not seen in polling even when Crist was soundly defeated and received only 30% of the vote in his race for the U.S. Senate in 2010. In contrast, voters are well aware of Governor Scott’s record and accomplishments, and they like what they see. They know that the choice is clear: Rick Scott is the better Governor.

Download 100 days memo

July 26, 2014

You can trust Gil Fulbright for Senate

@MarcACaputo

Endorse:

Federal judge: Miami-Dade should have delayed proceedings that led to demolition of soldier's home

@PatriciaMazzei

Fighting for his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jesus Jimenez helped fellow soldiers disarm enemy bombs. He made it back safely.

Fighting for his family in Miami, Jimenez was less fortunate. While he trained to ship overseas one more time, Miami-Dade County demolished his home.

His five-month-pregnant wife, Laura, was kicked out, along with his diabetic daughter, hearing-impaired brother and mother-in-law. Most of their possessions, including a beloved upright piano, were still inside.

Four year earlier, Jimenez had asked the county to delay the building-code violation proceedings against him because he was a soldier on active duty.

A Miami federal judge ruled last week that Miami-Dade violated U.S. law by failing to grant Jimenez’s request. Jimenez, now a U.S. Army staff sergeant in Fort Bliss, Texas, will pursue damages against the county and two building officials to compensate for the loss of his family’s home and the hardship they suffered.

“I feel relieved,” said Jimenez, a 49-year-old father of four. “But whatever I recover won’t be enough to do much.”

More here.

Attacks begin among GOP rivals in Miami congressional race

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami congressional candidate Ed MacDougall has begun to attack Carlos Curbelo, the establishment favorite in the District 26 Republican primary.

Targeting reliable Hispanic voters, MacDougall's campaign has mailed fliers and released radio ads -- both in Spanish -- portraying Curbelo as liberal.

"Charlie Crist's friend Carlos Curbelo headed up the opposition to Marco Rubio when he ran for Senate," the radio spot begins.

The ad also claims Curbelo opposes repealing Obamacare and "supported a school-tax hike of $1.2 billion," referring to a bond referendum Miami-Dade County voters approved in 2012.

"Doesn't Carlos Curbelo seem like a Democrat?" the back of the flier reads. (View the front here.)

Continue reading "Attacks begin among GOP rivals in Miami congressional race" »

July 25, 2014

Miami-Dade mayor lets higher library tax stand

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez won’t veto a higher property tax rate ceiling for libraries set by county commissioners.

Mike Hernández, Gimenez’s spokesman, said Friday that the mayor decided to let the commission’s 8-5 vote from last week stand, even though that means the county’s overall tax rate could go against Gimenez’s wishes.

“He will continue to insist that Miami-Dade County government — and our library system — operate as efficiently as possible,” Hernández said.

Gimenez had until Friday to veto the commission’s decision.

A veto appeared unlikely once the mayor declared victory after the June 15 vote in which commissioners mostly agreed with Gimenez’s proposed tax rates. With the exception of libraries, commissioners signed off on Gimenez’s plan for the tax rates that fund the fire department and all other county services.

Gimenez had requested to raise the library tax some, offsetting the increase with a lower fire department rate. Commissioners went with an even higher library hike — though not as high as advocates wanted — to avoid layoffs and program cuts.

Commissioners will vote on the final tax rates and budget after two public hearings in September.

Tallahassee Police: FSU professor shot in garage

Thirty-six hours before he was gunned down in his Tallahassee home, law professor Dan Markel was pondering the death penalty.

On that night, July 16, his thoughts drifted to the number of Death Row inmates whose sentences had been vacated in California. He posted an essay on the subject to his widely read legal blog before going to bed.

Around 11 a.m. on July 18, Markel, 41, was shot in the head. He died the following day.

Investigators say Markel was targeted by his shooter. He was killed in his garage, according to a police report released Friday. Markel’s black Honda Accord was being processed by the forensics unit, the keys still inside.

But police haven’t said much more about the crime, which happened in a quiet, upscale neighborhood known as Betton Hills. The mystery has rocked the legal community and spurred scores of blog posts and online tributes.

"It's not only gruesome, it’s spooky," said Doug Berman, a criminal law professor at Ohio State University whom Markel referenced in his final blog post. "He was someone who was constantly engaged with criminal justice ideas, and thinking about how to handle human tragedies in profound ways. His obviously criminal slaughter brings that all together."

Read more here.

Climate wars continue as Crist meets with FSU scientist

Democrat Charlie Crist said he’s already a “believer” in climate change but said he listened to a scientific presentation Friday partly to highlight the differences between him and Gov. Rick Scott.

 The presentation took place during a press conference as Jeff Chanton, a Florida State University oceanography professor, showed slide after slide showing the impact of global warming on Florida and the world. Chanton was one of 10 scientists who last week sent a letter to Scott requesting a sit-down to discuss climate change since the governor has often said he’s not a scientist when asked about global warming.

Scott’s response was that he’d have someone from his administration meet with the scientists. On Friday, Crist said he’d personally meet with the scientists who authored the letter. And Scott’s campaign later released a statement saying the governor would be “happy to meet with them.”

Chanton said he hasn’t personally been contacted by Scott, but the governor’s campaign spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said an appointment would be set up.

The so-called climate wars created an opportunity for Crist who said he not only wanted to “meet with Chanton to learn “but also to indicate there’s a distinction between the two of us running for governor this year.

“I noticed that my opponent, Rick Scott, would not meet with this wonderful scientist,” Crist said, adding that Scott “was not going to meet” with Chanton until “I accepted the opportunity to do so. It makes a great statement about the two different views of the world by the two of us, myself and Rick Scott.”

Scott’s campaign provided a little drama of its own. Schutz dashed into the press conference before Crist arrived and passed out copies of a picture of a private plane and a graph that said Crist flew on a plane owned by James Finch, owner of Phoenix Construction. A group of 15 Scott volunteers carried signs with messages like “Crist flies with polluters.”

When asked about the flying to the press conference, Crist said "Listen, I’m trying to win this race and Florida's a big state. And if the Republicans don’t think that I should be allowed to fly and have to drive everywhere when their candidate has his own private airplane that he got from the ill-gotten procedures he had at Columbia/HCA, I got another thing coming for em. I'm going to fly and I'm going to get around Florida as fast as I can to talk to as many people as I can to tell them the truth about what this  guy isn't doing on climate change and education and other issues."

 

Continue reading "Climate wars continue as Crist meets with FSU scientist " »

Charlie Crist flies to enviro press conference -- on jet of developer fined for pollution

@MarcACaputo

Democrat Charlie Crist flew to an environmental press event Thursday on the private jet of a developer fined for pollution.

Almost as soon Crist stepped off the 2005 Cessna 560XL, Gov. Rick Scott's campaign had photographed its tail number and traced its ownership to developer James Finch, whose company Phoenix Construction was fined at least twice for violating environmental rules (more here, here and here).

Scott's campaign quickly informed reporters awaiting Crist at his press conference concerning climate change

Crist, not commenting about the irony of flying to an environmental press conference on the plane of someone busted for violating environmental rules, partly blamed his troubles on the remoteness and difficulty of traveling to Tallahassee.

"Listen, I’m trying to win this race and Florida's a big state. And if the Republicans don’t think that I should be allowed to fly and have to drive everywhere when their candidate has his own private airplane that he got from the ill-gotten procedures he had at Columbia HCA, I got another thing coming for 'em," Crist said. "I'm going to fly and I'm going to get around Florida as fast as I can to talk to as many people as I can to tell them the truth about what this guy isn't doing on climate change and education and other issues.".

Was there a better way to travel to Tallahassee?

"Perhaps there is, but that's really not the issue of today," Crist said. "The issue of today is who really cares about Florida."

No one asked how much carbon he blew into the atmosphere by deciding to hold a climate-change press conference in Tallahassee instead of his home base of Tampa Bay. Or maybe he could have held the event in Gainesville, where the governor had flown from.

That's less than a three hour drive from Tallahassee.

It would've saved fuel. And the drive would've spared Crist a bad headline he didn't need.

-- Rochelle Koff contributed

Flori-duh Rep. Curt Clawson thinks U.S. officials of Indian descent represent Indian govt.

@MarcACaputo

They don't call us Flori-duh for nothing.

The latest inductee to the Sunshine State's face-palming club: U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, the Bonita Springs Republican who replaced Trey Radel, the cocaine congressman busted for buying blow in Washington last year.

The scene: The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.

The players: Clawson and two congressional witnesses named Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar.

"I am familiar with your country; I love your country," Clawson told them, speaking about India, which he thought was their land. "And I understand the complications of so many languages, and so many cultures, and so many histories, all rolled up in one…"

Yes. All those languages. Like the English language. Spoken primarily in the United States. English is also a written language and, in plain English, the witness list said Biswal and Kumar, respectively, hold senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department.

That is, Biswal and Kumar work for the U.S. government. They don't work for India. They are Americans. 

But Clawson apparently didn't read the witness list's plain English. Nor did the freshman probably know that it's rare for foreign-government officials to testify before Congress, according to Foreign Policy's blog, The Cable. The Cable reports that Clawson had been busy talking about his knowledge of India and his favorite Bollywood movies.

You know, most of his friends are Indians. Oh, and he's also concerned about U.S.-India trade relations.

So the congressman plowed on in error. None of his colleagues stopped him to point out his mis-identification of the U.S. officials sitting before him.

"Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I'd like our capital to be welcome there. And there to be freedom of capital," he said. "And I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?"

One second passed.

Two seconds.

Three seconds.

And then, four long seconds later, Biswal tried to be as diplomatic as possible while Kumar smiled broadly.

"I.. I think," she stammered, "your question is to the Indian government and we certainly share your sentiments. And we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S."

Clawson didn't appear to catch the context of what she said.

"Of course. OK," he grinned. "Let’s see some progress."

Yes. Let's.

But first someone needs to explain the congressional ropes to the politician from that sometimes-alien land known as Flori-duh. 

The exchange lasted but a few moments. But by Friday it was rehashed over and over again in Twitter's echo chamber, where Adam Goldstein, a management consultant with the account @A_H_Goldstein, managed to find a parallel between Clawson and Radel, who was arrested in October for buying a large amount of personal-use cocaine from an undercover agent. 

"You know who else didn't realize when they were talking to a U.S. government employee?" Goldstein said on Twitter.

SurveyUSA/NRDC poll: 71% of FL voters concerned about climate-change

@MarcACaputo

Nearly eight in 10 likely Florida voters want limits on power-plants’ carbon pollution and as many as 71 percent say they’re concerned about climate change, according to a new poll conducted for an environmental group during the hotly contested governor’s race.

“The takeaway from this poll is simple: People think carbon pollution is a problem, and they think our political leaders should take action and fight pollution,” said Susan Glickman, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which chartered the 1,005-likely voter poll by SurveyUSA.

The survey’s timing has both a policy and political dynamic:

* It gauges voter sentiment on a range of environmental issues, including opinions about a draft U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting carbon emissions, which the poll says 59 percent strongly favor.

* It’s an election year in which Republican Gov. Rick Scott faces former Gov. Charlie Crist, a believer in man-made climate change due to carbon emissions. A separate SurveyUSA poll this week indicated Crist leads by as much as 5 percentage points, but a Quinnipiac University survey at the same time found the race essentially tied.

Scott, who once said he didn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change, now won’t comment on the matter, saying only that “I’m not a scientist.”

In response, a group of climate scientists asked to personally meet with Scott. After initially demurring, Scott said through spokespeople that he’d soon meet with the researchers himself. No date has been set.

Crist met with one of the climate scientists, FSU oceanography professor Jeff Chanton, at the Florida Press Center Friday in Tallahassee.

Scott’s campaign called it a “publicity stunt,” and Crist supporters say Scott is hiding from the issue.

The NRDC poll, however, doesn’t specifically address a core political controversy over climate change – whether voters believe it’s driven by man-made carbon emissions.

More here

What Crist omits from his ad about Bright Futures cuts

Former Gov. Charlie Crist continued his attacks on Gov. Rick Scott’s education funding record in a TV ad set at St. Petersburg High School, Crist’s alma mater.

"This isn’t just a doorway to a school. It was my doorway as a public school kid to opportunity. And I want to make sure every child has that same chance for a better life," Crist says in the ad. "But Rick Scott's education cuts are closing that door on Florida's kids, spending almost $200 less per student than when I was governor and cutting Bright Futures scholarships in half."

Here we will fact-check whether Scott cut Bright Futures scholarships in half. Turn to PolitiFact Florida for our rating.

Bondi calls on emergency medical workers to help fight human trafficking

Attorney General Pam Bondi is turning to emergency medical workers to help fight human trafficking in Florida, which is the third highest ranked state for the crime.

Emergency medical providers are at the “front line to help to identify possible victims of human trafficking,” Beth Brunner, CEO of the Emergency Medicine Learning and Resource Center in Orlando, said in a press release.

But the emergency workers don’t always recognize the signs, according to healthcare officials.

A study from the Family Violence Prevention Fund found that “28 percent of trafficking survivors said they came into contact with a healthcare provider during the trafficking situation, and were not recognized.”

“Medical treatment during an emergency may be one of the few opportunities that emergency medical personnel have a chance to help save a human trafficking victim,” said Bondi, who announced the plan to involve emergency personnel at a press conference in Orlando.

Continue reading "Bondi calls on emergency medical workers to help fight human trafficking" »

July 24, 2014

From a ponzi schemer to a secret deposition, 2014's 'mudslinging' looks like 2010 throwback

@MarcACaputo

In Florida’s bareknuckle governor’s race, it’s as if the 2010 campaign season never ended.

The Florida Democratic Party on Thursday announced a digital media effort to highlight a sealed deposition that damaged Rick Scott on the campaign trail four years ago.

At the same time, the Republican Party of Florida took to Twitter and mockingly marked Charlie Crist’s birthday by featuring a photo of the Democrat blowing out birthday candles with convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein — a relationship that haunted the then-governor in his unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate bid.

The state GOP also filed elections complaints Thursday that accused Crist of using the recent tour promoting his book — which revolves around his 2010 race — to help circumvent campaign-finance laws. Earlier this week, a batch of election-year complaints against Crist and Scott were rejected as baseless.

The back-and-forth slugfest, which has led to $22 million in TV ads so far and a neck-and-neck race, promises only to intensify as each side tries to make the other guy look like a secretive crook.

Story here

Second take: How Q-Poll shows favorable trends for Rick Scott v. Charlie Crist

@MarcACaputo

Yesterday morning, when Quinnipiac University posted its press release about the governor's race poll, I copied and pasted it on the blog. The news print story went into more depth about the context of the poll, which revealed better trendlines for Gov. Rick Scott than Democrat Charlie Crist.

And as, I've said numerous times: It ain't the topline, it's the trend.

An excerpt:

• Strong leadership. By 54-38 percent, voters say Scott is a strong leader compared to Crist’s 49-43 percent. That’s close to the opposite of the April findings. Scott’s index has moved 11 percentage points in the governor’s favor, Crist’s index has moved 12 points to his detriment.

• Truthfulness. Crist took a notable hit in appearing honest and trustworthy. His -9 index (39-48 percent) is down from a +2 index in April. That’s a net 11-point shift. Scott’s index is about the same.

• Favorability. Only 40 percent have a favorable impression of Scott and 45 percent an unfavorable impression. But his -5 favorability index is an all-time high and a 2-point improvement since April. Crist’s 40-42 percentage favorability spread is an all-time low; a -2 index that represents a 9-point shift to his detriment.

• Job approval. Scott’s anemic 43-48 percent job-approval numbers is his best ever. The -5 index represents a 3-point shift in his favor since April.

• Compassion and caring. Does Crist care about voters? More say no than yes now. His index is -3, a 9-point shift against him. Scott’s index is worse: -11. But that’s an improvement from -17. Crist is seen as more compassionate than Scott by 12 percentage points, but the spread is 3 points smaller than it was in April.

• Head-to-head lead. Leaving out [Libertarian Adrian] Wyllie, Crist’s 5-point lead of 45-40 percent has been cut exactly in half from his 10-point, 48-38 percentage lead he had in April.

Story here

Rubio cites case of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader in latest push for sanctions

@CAdamsMcClatchy

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has been pushing the Obama administration to impose targeted sanctions on individuals committing human rights violations in Venezuela, flagged the recent case of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López in a letter to the president.

López’s wife made a public plea to U.S. and international leaders this week, saying her husband had been jailed on trumped-up charges by what she called the weak and frightened regime of President Nicolas Maduro. Lilian Tintori spoke at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday.

López is the former mayor of Chacao, a part of greater Caracas. He was a rising star in the opposition ranks and seen as a presidential contender when he was banned from politics by late President Hugo Chávez in 2008. His arrest after a February protest was the beginning of wider crackdown on the opposition, and his trial is scheduled to continue this week.

Since February, Venezuelans protesting Maduro’s regime have been met with often-brutal state-sanctioned violence that’s resulted in deaths, detentions and torture, according to political leaders and human rights observers. U.S. politicians from both parties have urged the Obama administration to intervene more forcefully to help mitigate the violence, but the administration has taken a more cautious approach, saying it doesn’t want to make the situation worse.

In his letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday, Rubio wrote: “Sadly, Maduro's persecution of Mr. López is emblematic of his regime's methods to cling to power... For these blatant violations of basic human rights, not a single Venezuelan official has paid a price.”

Rick Scott haunted by familiar refrain: Release the deposition!

@MarcACaputo

Dr daveRelease the deposition! Your character’s in question!

Shouting into bullhorn and dressed in hospital scrubs, the chant from the Republican who called himself “Dr. Dave” interrupted Rick Scott in 2010 after he cast his ballot in Naples at the end of the GOP primary for governor.

The issue of the deposition had haunted Scott in that race.

And Democrats hope it weighs on him again now that they’ve announced a new digital media buy and website, releasethedeposition.com.

“What is so damning that Rick Scott won’t release it, no matter what the price?” the Democrats’ party chairwoman, Allison Tant, said in a conference call with reporters.

Scott won't release it now, essentially the same answer he gave in 2010: "It's a private matter and I will not release the deposition.”

A week before he first announced for governor, Scott gave the sworn testimony in a lawsuit against Scott’s chain of walk-in-clinics, Solantic, which was accused by a doctor of unlawfully using his name in a regulatory matter.

The Democrats' attack has a one-two-punch against Scott because it leads to mention of: his former healthcare company, Columbia/HCA, which had paid a record Medicare fraud; and how Scott once pleaded the Fifth Amendment 75 times (due to pending criminal investigations) in yet another deposition in a later healthcare lawsuit.

In 2010, Scott’s refusal to release the Solantic deposition badly hurt him in the GOP Republican primary, where internal campaign tracking polls showed his lead over then-Attorney General Bill McCollum dropped precipitously in the wake of the controversy.

InmateMcCollum allies funded TV ads about the issue. They also paid two “Dr. Dave” and another heckler dressed in a black-and-white-striped jail outfit named “Inmate 2010” to follow Scott around in an SUV wrapped with a grainy image of Scott’s face and the message “Rick Scott: Release the Deposition.”

A similar message – “RICK SCOTT, RELEASE YOUR DEPOSITION” -- was trailed behind a biplane at a Jacksonville Jaguars game that Scott visited. NOTE: All these pictures in this blog are of Republicans or Republican-paid operatives, not Democrats, from 2010.

Scott won that GOP race and went on to beat Democrat Alex Sink who also put millions of dollars behind release-the-deposition TV ads. Scott, barely won in what was then a Republican-red year.

Scott received fewer votes than any of the other four Republicans on the statewide ballot.

The Republican Party response to the new website/old attack: "Charlie Crist’s campaign of constant distraction and mudslinging is an attempt to hide his own problems with ethics and transparency. Crist is drumming up old, failed attacks because he doesn’t want to talk about the 38 days it’s been since he refused to release his and his spouse’s tax returns, and the 179 days it’s been since he refused to debate Nan Rich.” –Susan Hepworth, RPOF Communications Director

Scott depo wagon