Mike Fernandez departure ruins Scott campaign's rollout of new anti-Charlie Crist ad


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Mike Fernandez was Governor Scott's Finance Chair
  • Mike Fernandez was Governor Scott's Finance Chair
The Rick Scott campaign for re-election is about to release a second major television ad in recent weeks, this one attacking Charlie Crist for defending Obamacare on a recent appearance on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, where he said Obamacare was "great."

But the conference call hosted by Lieutenant-Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera on Monday morning  was highjacked by reporters who wanted to get his take on a Miami Herald story that broke Friday night.

The story reported how  Scott's co-finance chairman Mike Fernandez had left the campaign, amid revelations of his unhappiness regarding an incident involving two Scott campaign aides who had joked around in a :cartoon-style Mexican accent" while driving to a Mexican restaurant in Fernandez’s home town of Coral Gables.

After three consecutive questions posed to Lopez-Cantera, the Republican Party of Florida spokesperson announced that the call had ended.

When initially asked about the incident on the call, the LG replied that Fernandez had left to "spend more time with his family and concentrate more on his business. This is a diverse organization that we have here, and I'm confident that there is probably no basis for any of that." 

When Palm Beach Post reporter George Bennett followed up, Lopez-Cantera replied again that "This is a diverse organization. We don't tolerate inappropriate comments, and we don't believe they even happened, so."

The Herald's Mary Ellen Klas then asked if he had done any additional investigation himself? 

"The campaign has and there is no validity that we can find to any of those comments. Or what was written," Lopez-Cantera responded.

The Times Steve Bosquet then came back by asking, "Have you identified the staffers who were involved in this situation, and what if any action was taken against those individuals?"

Lopez-Cantera replied,"I think I just answered that question, but today I'm here to talk about the ad and how Charlie Crist has totally embraced how Obamacare is great...that's why I'm here today. If you want to ask a question about the ad I'm happy to talk about the ad. I've already answered the other Herald thing."

The call shut down right after that.

Fernandez is a Miami health-care executive who had personally donated $1.25 million to the Scott re-election campaign, and his departure is considered a major blow to that campaign team.

Oh, and here's the new ad, part of a new $2 million buy by the Scott re-elect team.

In response, Joshua Karp from the Florida Democratic Party wrote, "This is just another false and negative ad from Rick Scott, who has promised to spent $100 million tearing down his opponent. These false claims about the new health law have been debunked over and over again by independent fact-checkers.

"No amount of scare tactics and negative ads will convince voters that they can trust Rick Scott with another four years in office.

"These tired, debunked attack ads are just a blatant attempt to distract from Rick Scott’s failed record of cutting over a billion from education while giving taxpayer handouts to the wealthy special interests.”


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