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Fernandez's private email ripped Scott's advisers

Before he abruptly resigned as a top fund-raiser for Gov. Rick Scott, health care executive Mike Fernandez let loose with a litany of complaints in an email obtained by the Herald/Times. He described a "homogeneous" team of campaign advisers who are too scared of Scott to disagree with him and who don't understand the culture of Hispanic voters whose support he needs to win re-election.  
 
The aftershocks of Fernandez’s resignation remain a distraction for Scott's campaign, and it underscores a key part of the Democrats' opposition strategy, that Republicans can't relate to Hispanic voters. The most explosive part of Fernandez's Feb. 20 email was his claim, first reported in The Miami Herald, that two Scott campaign aides imitated a Mexican accent while driving to a Mexican restaurant.
 
When Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera said Monday there was "no validity" to the Herald report, it prompted Republicans sympathetic to Fernandez to release a copy of the email, which in broader terms reveals Fernandez's uneasiness with the direction of Scott's campaign.

Fernandez's email indicates that he never heard the comments he complained about. His business partner, identified in the email only as Luis, apparently did on the way to a Chipolte Grill, a Mexican restaurant.

“It's culturally insensitive for him to hear a senior staff members [sic] mimicking a Mexican accent on the way to Chipotle. It shows that the team does not understand the culture YOU need to win,” Fernandez wrote on his iPad.

Dismissing the accusation, Lopez-Cantera said Monday: “There's no validity that we can find to any of those comments, or what was written. This is a diverse organization. We don't tolerate inappropriate comments and I don't believe they even happened.”
 
Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, chairman of Scott's re-election campaign, acknowledged turmoil in the campaign and Fernandez's level of frustration."You get high-powered people like Mike Fernandez who's a CEO and used to being in charge," Thrasher said. "But there can only be one person in charge and that's the governor ... Sometimes there's frustration with that." 

Fernandez, a million-dollar donor to Scott who helped raise $35 million for his re-election campaign, has declined to comment to The Herald since Friday and didn’t release the email. He sent it to Scott's campaign manager Melissa Sellers. senior advisor Curt Anderson and fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke after an event in Coral Gables.

The email, one of a number of Fernandez missives, offers a rare glimpse into the internal friction in the Scott campaign and mirrors concerns voiced by other Republicans that Scott isn’t doing well enough in the polls against his likely challenger, Democrat Charlie Crist.

Fernandez used the comment about Mexican-accened English as a jumping-off point to complain about how Scott’s top team is new to Florida and that he fears for its Hispanic outreach.

“Would you hire me to manage a campaign in Mississippi for a country bumpkin? I hope not. We have one Texan, one guy from Wisconsin, I don't know where Tim (a brilliant guy) is from, but I guarantee you he is not from Florida, and one smart mercenary strategist,” Fernandez wrote, referencing deputy campaign manager Tim Saler.
 
Saler has worked as a Republican activist in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and Mississippi.

“I truly believe that the difference in this race is the Hispanic vote,” Fernandez wrote. “But what do I know, I have only made over a billion selling to this population.”

Fernandez didn’t raise this issue as his top concern. He first fretted, for instance, that “the team is united but homogenous in its thinking and seems to be feeding off each other and scared of disagreeing with the Governor.”
 
With reporting by Marc Caputo, The Miami Herald

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

The readers have continued to warn article writers about the damage they are doing to the reputation of a once great hometown paper by publishing rumors and gossip that at best belongs in supermarket tabloids. these article writers should start looking for new jobs as there will not be money available to pay them with the continued subscriber losses they are adding to.

Jefferson D.

Looks like Ed has a reality issue. Fact is it isn't so much Scott as it is Hollingworth and Sellers. Name me one person of substance who is on this campaign that was on his first. Name me one person left in his administration. There are none, and that is because they have ran them all off. Hollingsworth even ran off Jennifer Carroll. Evidently the African American and women vote is less important than the Hispanic vote. Oh that's right Hollingsworth was against that pick too. Maybe there is a racist element of truth here after all.

Pat

Ed Jenkins - Congrats on your lack of education Ed! It really shows.
Oh and the word is journalist...not article writers.
Good try though!

wilson

The funny thing is on some level I'm sure the Scott team believes their own BS about the need to allow honest debate and speaking truth to power.

So, Team Scott, how's that truth thing working out for you?

Marxist Fred

Comrade Jenkins, you continue to inspire with your amazing level of insight and tenacity. A free press is the biggest single impediment to government control of information. Keep it up Comrade! Keep it up! We inch ever closer to destruction of the evil free press.

Tally Folly

Looks like Ricky got some splaining to do.

Luis Hernandez

Republic primary voters including this one have warned party leaders for some time of the inevitable campaign meltdown by the scumbag Scott and now we have seen this proven true with packing of his campaign organization with racists and out-of-state political mercenaries that have no understanding of our diverse, family friendly state. There is still time to replace this horrible person. As we have seen this Scott is out of touch with average Floridians, has tried to force his ideological agenda on our diverse state, cut sweetheart deals for his big financial donors and has repeatedly insulted our hispanic citizens. Republic primary voters again ask for a candidate that can win and not allow this disaster to happen in November.

Highly paid Republican operative

Luis I sense that you making fun of Ed Jenkins.

Ed is a highly respected Republican blogger. Please refrain from any more efforts to pull his chain.

Luis Hernandez

Dear Highly paid Republican operative,

who is the Ed that you are speaking about? I do not know him and do not understand your comments.

Highly paid Republican operative

Luis your effort to lampoon Edward is unfair as he is
incapable of witty retort. But I on the other hand are a more worthy adversary!

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