In the heated battle over job incentives and tourism money, Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran are goading each other with tweets, press releases and Scott's media events, like the ones in Tampa on Monday and Panama City on Tuesday.
But are these two strong-willed Republicans actually talking to each other? No, and that's rarely a good sign in Tallahassee.
Corcoran spokesman Fred Piccolo said the speaker called Scott's cell phone late last week before the governor launched a statewide tour in which he has publicly criticized two GOP House members in their districts, Reps. Paul Renner (left) and Jay Trumbull, for supporting the elimination of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
"The speaker had reached out to the governor in the past week prior to the governor's state tour," Piccolo said.
A phone conversation wouldn't change either man's mind, but the deepening rancor over incentives and tourism could easily spread to other policy areas, such as the budget, tax cuts and education.
Scott's office did not deny that he got the call from Corcoran, and spokeswoman Jackie Schutz did not directly address the question of Scott giving him the brush-off. She said that before last week's vote by a House subcommittee to ax the programs, Scott chief of staff Kim McDougal and legislative affairs director Kevin Reilly walked the halls and visited with every Republican member of the panel but one to express Scott's view that the agencies must survive. "He's been very clear how he feels about it," Schutz said.
Meanwhile, the back-and-forth continues. First-term Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota, fired back at critics in a guest column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, tweeted: "The Gov is a good man and I agree with him on many things, but he is wrong to go after good House members."
Scott will hold two more "Fighting for Florida Jobs" roundtables Wednesday in Sunrise and Riviera Beach. Two of five House members who sided with Scott in a 10-5 subcommittee vote last week are Democrats from Palm Beach County. Corcoran has referred the bill to the full House Appropriations Committee in advance of a scheduled Feb. 21 vote.