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After Fernandez departure, Mexican-accent controversy nags Gov. Rick Scott's campaign


Florida Republicans had a well-scripted plan to showcase their Latino outreach last week, as an immigrant-friendly tuition bill passed the state House and national Republicans unveiled their Florida Hispanic Advisory Council.

Then came the Mexican-accent controversy.

On Friday, the Miami Herald reported that Gov. Rick Scott’s top campaign-finance co-chairman, Mike Fernandez, raised a concern in an email last month about campaign associates joking around in over-the-top Mexican accents.

Insiders whispered about the email for weeks, but some of the contents became public only after Fernandez suddenly quit his campaign post, citing the need to spend more time with his family while expressing confidence in Scott’s chances.

Fernandez, however, also expressed some dissatisfaction with the direction of the reelection effort.

The Scott campaign went into double-damage-control mode, reeling from Fernandez’s abrupt departure and downplaying the Mexican-accent issue, which apparently played out in a van en route to a Mexican restaurant in Coral Gables.

“Mike was not in the van,” Scott’s campaign manager, Melissa Sellers, said in an email to the Herald.

“I spoke to every staffer in the van,” Sellers wrote. “If something was said in an accent, no one remembers what it was. We are a diverse organization and we do not tolerate inappropriate comments.”

Fernandez, born in Cuba, won’t comment about internal campaign conversation or about the email. Nor would Sellers confirm whether she received it.

It appears from the context of Fernandez’s resignation, and the private comments from his friends, that he was less worried about the “insensitive” statements (whatever they were) and was far more frustrated and concerned about the campaign’s messaging, such as the quality of the campaign’s emails and videos. Fernandez kept fundraising all the while, pulling in about $35 million, which Fernandez said was his goal.

Democrats aren’t waiting to find out what was said and immediately began highlighting the Mexican-comment issue as part of their campaign to keep Hispanics away from the GOP.

Column here


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Highly paid Republican operative

What's said in the van stays in the van! Gringos!

Ed Jenkins

The readers have no interest in gossip stories and only have asked their reporters to report news stories to them. News article writers must not be considered for the future of their dwindling jobs if they continue to produce stories such as this that are of no interest to the readers.

Rober D.

Conservatives believe it is about time our Governor reevaluates his campaign and the information they are giving him. Hard to understand how people who are not from Florida can begin to understand Florida and the voters who live here.


Sellers threw Fernandez under the van.

Highly paid Republican operative

In this case the van.

Ed Jenkin's Neighbor

The Republican Party is no stranger to off color and racist humor. As a Caucasian Democrat, I have heard many of these bad jokes over the years. They are never funny and always mean spirited.
The Republican Party has a racism problem.
Not all Republicans are racist, but all racists are Republican.

Indie Thinker

Ed Jenkins would have had to read the story to find out whether it would be of no interest to readers. By then it would be too late.

So how is my favorite parody of a Rick Scott supporter, Ed?


All racists like Alex Sink? How are those Mexican maids and landscapers working out for her?

Ridiculous to assert racism like this and paint broad strokes. Its also ridiculous to call people who use accents to make fun of people racists.

The PC police need to ho to HE**


Did you make that last comment using a redneck accent?

Bernard Profitendieu

@Ed Jenkins: since when do you speak for the readers? I'm a reader and I'm VERY interested in this story

calling something gossip doesn't make it go away ... you only WISH it were gossip

Where there's smoke, there's fire, and it's so smokey in that van full of people all pretending not to remwmber what was said that the driver can't see and is going straight over a cliff!!

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