Rick Scott isn’t just running against fellow Republican Bill McCollum any more. Over the past few weeks, the political outsider/multi-millionaire has ratcheted up the rhetoric to say he’s taking on the entire power structure of Tallahassee and the Republican Party of Florida.
For proof, he says, just look at the recent repeated and most recent statements of RPOF Chairman John Thrasher, who denounced Scott yesterday (again) for running an ad suggesting that McCollum knew more about now-indicted former chairman Jim Greer. Thrasher issued the statement in response to Scott's questioning of RPOF finances and his decision to take out full-page newspaper ads noting a Greer-McCollum nexus.
"Rick Scott has orchestrated a multifaceted campaign of misinformation in an effort to mislead Florida voters and confuse the facts surrounding the arrest and indictment of Jim Greer as well as the Party’s financial situation and preparedness to support our candidates," Thrasher said in an email yesterday.
Though Thrasher said he’s neutral in the race, Scott doesn’t buy it and he’s now making Thrasher out to be more of a successor to Greer’s legacy, rather than a usurper of his allegedly corrupt former predecessor, Greer, who got Thrasher et al to initially sign a golden-parachute severance agreement.
“Clearly, he’s biased,” Scott said. “Clearly, it’s all been orchestrated. That started with Jim Greer – it’s all been orchestrated that Bill McCollum will be the candidate. They didn’t want to have a primary….
“The information that we put out is absolutely true. You go look at the facts. They’re all there, whether they like it or not. So it’s a mistake that the party chairman would be biased and take a position on this when he knows the facts are absolutely true.”
Q: Do you think Thrasher’s being motivated by the special interests you mention on the campaign trail and who fund the RPOF?
Scott: “I don’t know what it is. I think it’s disappointing the party didn’t allow a primary. It started with Jim Greer trying to clear the field for both Charlie Crist and Bill McCollum. And it’s disappointing.”
Do you not trust Thrasher? Is that why you didn’t agree to fundraise for the party and have it help run parts of your campaign?
Scott: “I looked at how all the games that are being played and I didn’t feel there’s a level playing field.”
Q: That sounds like a yes.
Scott: “I didn’t believe it was a level playing field, starting with Jim Greer and continuing with John Thrasher.”
Q: In a light most favorable to McCollum and Thrasher, they didn’t know about the alleged illegalities under Greer, yet your ad suggests McCollum was aware of them.
Scott: “The ads are truthful in that they say that BM doesn’t believe in transparency. The ads are truthful because he delayed -- There should have been an investigation earlier. The party should have been completely transparent and get this behind them. Instead of the way they handled them.”
Q: So they should have listened to the news media?
Here's Thrasher's statement:
Over the last several weeks and in an escalated manner this weekend, Rick Scott has orchestrated a multifaceted campaign of misinformation in an effort to mislead Florida voters and confuse the facts surrounding the arrest and indictment of Jim Greer as well as the Party’s financial situation and preparedness to support our candidates as we move towards the November election.
The ads placed in newspapers this weekend, television advertisements and the stream of mail sent to voters by Mr. Scott alleging that Attorney General Bill McCollum acted inappropriately throughout the investigation, arrest and indictment of Jim Greer are untrue. Politifact has twice written that Mr. Scott's attacks on this issue are false and that their continued use appears to be an attempt at diverting attention from Mr. Scott's past legal issues.
As I have stated before, Attorney General McCollum, Speaker-Designate Cannon, Senate President -Designate Haridopolos and I stood up to Governor Crist and worked to remove Jim Greer as Chairman because of his mismanagement of the Party. When evidence of the alleged criminal wrongdoing Jim Greer has now been indicted for was presented to us, Attorney General McCollum acted swiftly to refer our findings to the proper authorities. Mr. Scott’s repeated attacks come straight from Jim Greer and the Florida Democrats’ talking points and seek to diminish and destroy the credibility of the Party we have worked so hard to rebuild following the Crist/Greer era.
Additionally, Mr. Scott’s false rhetoric about the state of the Party’s finances and our ability to support our candidates demonstrates a disturbing lack of understanding of federal and state election law. Despite having to pay down a significant amount of federal debt inherited from the previous administration, the Party has nearly half a million in the bank to help towards our get out the vote effort. We plan to add a significant amount to that during our upcoming Victory Dinner. With more than 20 victory offices open, our field staff numbers will rival what we have had in presidential years and with the help of our friends at the RNC, NRSC and NRCC voter contact will be at levels we in Florida are used to and more. Absentee and early vote numbers currently on the books indicate that our voters are active and engaged in this election, and that momentum will carry over into the general election in November.
Had Mr. Scott chosen to join every other statewide candidate in our efforts to fundraise for the
Florida Victory 2010 effort, a strategic victory plan the McCollum Campaign has been involved with for nearly a year, he would be better educated as to the Party’s position headed into November and have a better understanding of specific resources the RPOF is able to provide various state and federal candidates. Instead, he’s chosen to criticize the Party with naive statements that are completely void of fact and reflect nothing more than his own failure to understand federal and state election law.
I remain hopeful that in the remaining days of this primary campaign, Rick Scott will begin to lay out a positive message for why he is running for the Republican nomination to be our next Governor, instead of continuing to release false statements regarding fellow Republicans and our Party.