Republican Gov. Rick Scott released a Spanish-language two-fer ad Monday that attempted to both make him look bipartisan and reach out to a fast-growing, left-leaning segment of the electorate: voters of Puerto Rican descent.
The ad features former Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, a Scott appointee to a transportation board, who contrast Scott's record with Democrat Charlie Crist's.
"He’s a Republican," Ferre says in Spanish, pointing to Fortuño as they both walk in view of the camera.
"And he’s a Democrat," Fortuño says.
Ferre: "Agreeing on anything isn’t easy..
Fortuño: "But here's why we agree that Governor Rick Scott deserves your vote."
They then mention jobs and education. (Note: it says Scott lowered Crist's higher-education tuition increases, a claim we'll have to examine more closey).
Scott, who began Spanish-language outreach earlier than any other recent candidate for governor, appears to have shored up Cuban-American Republicans in Miami-Dade, where they account for about 72 percent of the registered Republicans.
Puerto Ricans, who tend to vote Democrat and live in Central Florida, are a different story. That's where Ferre and Fortuño come in. Both men are of Puerto Rican descent and, by cutting this ad, it's a good bet Scott will run it in the Orlando-area.
Whether Fortuño polls well there is a good question: He lost his 2012 bid for reelection. Ferre, who ran as a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in 2010, isn't a big Crist fan. But his presence on camera is interesting in that Ferre chairs the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority board and voted to raise tolls -- a board vote that led the Scott administration to claim it wouldn't re-appoint another board member because he supported the increase.
That board member, Gonzalo Sanabria, said Scott's administration invented the excuse only after he told them he was resigning in protest over the Scott campaign's shoddy treatment of former fundraiser Mike Fernandez. Adding to the intrigue: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera's mother, Shelly Smith Fano, is vice-chair of MDX.
Regardless of whether Sanabria quit first or was blocked first, it appears that toll increases are ok after all -- at least for the guy who cut an ad that helps Scott's reelection bid.