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Adam Putnam bests Rick Scott on the stump

In his first Panhandle campaign swing, Rick Scott, the balding former health care executive, sought to capitalize on his ubiquitous TV ads and lead in the polls.

But his stump speech on a six-county Whistle Stop tour lacked some oomph. Those watching said it’s not the message, it’s the messenger. Compared to agriculture commissioner hopeful Adam Putnam, a skilled talker on the trail, Scott looked, well, like Bill McCollum, his GOP rival: monotone and unexciting. “He’s McCollum without the career politician baggage,” a disappointed local GOP official said. The one consistent applause line in Scott's speech is his support for an Arizona-styled immigration law, which is political gold in the conservative Panhandle.

Before he begins to fret, Scott should take heart in what voters are saying. More than a half-dozen GOP voters who expressed support for Scott said his TV ad taking responsibility for the $1.7 billion fraud settlement from his time at the helm of Columbia/HCA settled the issue in their minds. “He stood up and addressed it head on,” said Aubrey Herndon, a teacher. This is bad news for McCollum who is repeatedly attacking Scott on the topic as he seeks to erode his rival’s 10 point lead.

And even though the day's events highlighted the lesser known and local candidates (from state representative to county commission and school board) Scott still attracted the most attention. His campaign staffers, wearing pressed shirts and dress pants, made for a presidential-styled entourage, especially with a Wall Street Journal and Associated Press reporter in tow. "I think he's an exciting candidate," said Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz at an event. "I think he's good for our party."

Also possibly look for Alice Stewart , a spokeswoman for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to join the campaign. She did a trial run and interview during the campaign swing.

And despite spending $15 million on the race -- and debuting a new ad Saturday -- Scott's campaign confirms it is soliciting contributions. Scott held a high-dollar fundraiser in Miami on Friday night before flying to the Panhandle. The campaign said it's not the usual suspects giving money, though didn't name names.

Comments

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George Fuller

It is not hard to understand the political leanings of the reporter who starts the article having to mention "balding" in the description of Scott......

It might be OK if the reporter signed off saying reported by scraggly, unkempt, dirty haired reporter.......

SUE

Rick Scott for Governor
Bernie Madoff for Lt. Gov

Now there's two guys who could really balance Florida's budget

David

Mccollum lost any chance of getting my vote with this blatant attack ad. The wording and innuendo make me want to puke. And in a primary race it's even more reprehensible. Stuff it where the sun don't shine McCollum. You had my vote till this ad crawled out from under a rock.

David

George Fuller is right. It would have been a fair description if McCollum had been described as, say, a Yoda look-alike without the force or intelligence.

jmcross

So, all it takes to cleanse one's soul for the RiPOFf crowd is a media mea culpa.

*Sure, I ran a company that cost its shareholders $1,700,000,000 in cash because we were stealing from the taxpayers. Sorry 'bout that. Oh yeah, they gave me millions to go away. I use it to buy votes. So what? Now, about those Mexicans...*

What a turd. And Matt Gaetz just snuggles right up to him. Disgusting.

Muckraker

I was the ground coordinator for the Okaloosa Stop. First, McCollum had a campaign worker there filming every word Scott said, hoping for a blooper... Second, Scott was unfailingly polite and well spoken. Despite what you read above here, all agreed his has that elusive quality called charisma

McCollum didn't bother to show up. And this was a coordinated campaign stop of both congressional districts 1 and 2.

Our local paper, dependably left wing, didn't cover the event.

As for the race in General:

Here is a Bigger News Story Than Bathroom Stall "Toe-Tapping": The Story Behind Charlie Crist, Bill McCollum and Jim Greer

http://www.bloggybayou.com/2010/06/question-what-do-charlie-crist-bill.html

Cheers

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