AMOUNT OF TAXPAYER MONEY GOV. RICK SCOTT HAS SPENT SENDING RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN PROPAGANDA TO 18,541 FLORIDA LOTTERY WINNERS SINCE SEPTEMBER
APPROXIMATE AMOUNT THE GOVERNOR HAS SPENT SENDING SIMILARLY DISGUISED CAMPAIGN LETTERS TO 400,000 FLORIDA RESIDENTS RENEWING THEIR BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSES
CURRENT POLLING LEAD HELD BY FORMER GOV. CHARLIE CRIST OVER RICK SCOTT, ACCORDING TO A NOV. 21 QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY POLL
“I THINK EVERY FLORIDIAN OUGHT TO BRAG ABOUT OUR STATE. I WANT TO CONGRATULATE EVERYBODY THAT IS DOING A GREAT JOB AND I’M GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT.”
– GOV. RICK SCOTT
SOURCES: MIAMI HERALD, FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY
There may not have been much love for Gov. Rick Scott as he was rolled out on Church Street for last week’s announcement that Orlando City Soccer Club would be joining the Major League Soccer ranks (no thanks to Scott) – in fact, Scott was hysterically booed off the stage. Nor was there a lot of love for the perpetually uncomfortable governor shown in the poll numbers released by Quinnipiac University Nov. 21, where Scott’s favorability rating slumped while he continued to lose by a 7-point margin to shapeshifting newbie-Democrat Charlie Crist. But if that love letter from Scott you may have received in your mailbox is to be believed, he has nothing but love for you and for the Sunshine State he hopes to retain in the 2014 election cycle. Oh, and lots of love for himself.
For weeks, those who care about these political trappings have been muttering about the governor’s seeming unseemliness in blurring the lines between campaign spending and, well, using public funds to better do his job. It started when renewals for business and professional licenses in the state were met with return mail touting the governor’s personal struggles and his governmental successes – all of which reads a little too blurry for comfort.
“Growing up, my parents struggled financially,” he doodled in a note to those requesting licenses, according to the Miami Herald. “In fact, when I started school, we were in public housing.”
Which, we suppose, is supposed to engender that warm feeling of bootstraps a-pulling and deregulated harmony for entrepreneurs with hearts-too-small. It certainly doesn’t seem relevant to the rather ordinary task of getting licensed in a state that refuses virtually no one, though, does it? Oh, it’s a personal note!
But how personal is the boilerplate being funneled to those who passed the Florida Bar recently? It sounds a little vindictive, actually.
“In the four years before taking office, Florida lost more than 832,000 jobs, and unemployment more than tripled – from 3.5 to 11.1 percent,” Scott (ghost)writes, according to the Herald. “State debt increased by $5.2 billion, our housing market collapsed, our economy was off track and our families were hurting.” So good luck on your first case, Elle Woods! Also, fuck Charlie Crist (and trial lawyers, while you’re at it).
If it all seems bizarre, it really isn’t. Scott is neither the first or last down-in-the-dumps politico to use his letterhead to his advantage, but critics are calling this latest round of bon mots a little too close to the bone. Scott’s taken it to awkward extremes, sending sweet nothings to 18,541 lottery winners bragging about the economy. Guess who wants donations! Oh, he can’t get them. The addresses of the big winners are off limits because of thieves! Happy scratching off, governor.
Democrats, naturally, see this as an expensive political ploy and the sign of a sad, bald man.
“Shameless. Just shameless. Apparently, a projected $100 million campaign war chest isn’t enough for Rick Scott,” Florida Democratic Party spokesman Josh Karp writes in an emailed statement to reporters. “Everyone from public school students to small business owners have gotten campaign letters from Rick Scott – letters that are printed at taxpayer expense. Now, the Miami Herald reports that new attorneys are getting letters from state government stuffed full of Rick Scott’s campaign talking points. Talk about clutching at straws.”
Not really clutching at the narrative is Democratic contender Crist, who has, uh, been there before, and may have his own issues. One noted statewide Democrat (and supporter of Crist challenger Nan Rich) questioned on her Facebook profile recently whether Crist should be scrutinized for his face being all over Morgan & Morgan billboards throughout the state without political disclaimers. Though Crist is, according to the Herald, willing to let the question of Scott’s impropriety dangle out there in the spin cycle.
“I’ll leave that to others to judge,” he said, as he would.