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Memo: Rick Scott Ekes Out Toxic Primary, Alex Sink in Strong Position to Win in November

To:      Interested Parties
From: Scott Arceneaux, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director
Re:      Scott Ekes Out Toxic Primary, Alex Sink in Strong Position to Win in November
Republicans now have a nominee for governor, but there was no GOP “winner” last night.  And for the people of Florida, this GOP primary campaign has left deep-rooted negative feelings and lasting doubts about the Republican nominee, disgraced hospital CEO Rick Scott.  No wonder 54% of Republicans voted against Rick Scott in the primary and Alex Sink received more votes in the primary election.
After an unprecedented, scathingly-negative campaign of vicious personal attacks between Scott and Bill McCollum, the people of Florida have had enough of two candidates obsessed with attacking other people.  That’s because Rick Scott and Bill McCollum didn’t run a campaign about the issues — they ran a race to the bottom.
It’s not surprising that in the lead-up to the election over the summer, Scott’s unfavorable rating soared to 49% in the latest poll (8/25/10).  And what’s driving these negative impressions and doubts about Rick Scott is his constant refusal to explain his role in a pattern of fraud and other wrongdoing at his companies going back to over a decade ago all the way up to six days before he announced for governor.
By stark contrast: For months, Alex Sink has run a campaign focused on fixing Florida’s many challenges – releasing detailed plans to create jobs and diversify Florida’s economy, cut wasteful government spending, and clean up the culture of indictments and arrests in state government.  
GOP Nominee Rick Scott has shown his priority is to launch negative, nasty personal attacks, doing anything he can to win an election; Alex Sink has proved her  priority is  the people of Florida, doing everything she can to get the state back on track.
After his scorched-earth primary, Scott faces three obvious problems: (1) Floridians fundamentally don’t like or trust  him; (2) Scott will continue to be plagued by his detailed history of exploiting people, doing anything to make a buck and ripping off the government; and (3) Scott is now running against an admired,, credible outsider with respected business leadership and proven experience holding government accountable to the people of Florida.
Floridians Fundamentally Don’t Like or Trust Rick Scott
Rick Scott’s downward spiral was clear in the nasty, negative primary he pulled off in a squeaker – and the glaring example is that  54% of Republicans voted against him. 
The latest Public Policy Polling Survey out today says that Scott is “extremely unpopular,” showing that 49% of likely voters view Scott unfavorably, while only 28% view him favorably.  Also important, 54% of independents see Scott negatively.
Notably, many of the polls taken in the Republican primary just days before the election showed Scott doing extremely poorly among moderate Republicans and Republican women.
Over the summer, as more and more questions arose about Rick Scott’s checkered past, the number of Floridians who viewed Scott unfavorably skyrocketed — up to 48% of those asked earlier this month. 
Percentage of Floridians Who Have Unfavorable View of Scott:


Scott Unfav



Public Policy Polling, 8/25/10  


Quinnipiac, 8/19/10 


Mason-Dixon, 8/12/10 


Rasmussen, 8/4/10 


Quinnipiac, 7/30/10 


Public Policy Polling, 7/22/10 


Rasmussen, 6/9/10 


Rasmussen, 5/18/10 


Because more information keeps surfacing about Scott’s shady business practices at both his former and current companies, it’s clear that the doubts and distrust in the minds of Florida voters will only continue to fester.
Rick Scott Will Continue to Be Plagued by Detailed History of Exploitation and Fraud
This race has raised question after question about Rick Scott’s legal issues.  But he has yet to come clean to the people of Florida.  Instead, he refuses to release the deposition he gave just six days before announcing his campaign for Governor.
Scott failed to answer for his record – both what he knew when he led a company that committed the largest Medicare fraud in our nation’s history, and about legal questions at his current health care company, Solantic.
The more information that comes out about Scott’s questionable past, the less likely he is to gain support or traction with the people of Florida.
Disgraced Rick Scott Now Running Against Respected, Credible Business Leader Alex Sink
Obviously Bill McCollum’s insider status and connections to the Tallahassee culture of corruption hurt him with primary voters.  And while But Rick Scott tries to portray himself as  a credible outsider, his record shows that he’s not – but Alex Sink is.
In the general election, no such “outsider advantage” exists for Scott.  He now has to face a credible alternative to his shady ways and questionable business practices.  Alex Sink was a respected business leader for decades, and as the Orlando Sentinel said: “Unlike Mr. Scott, she hadn’t a whiff of scandal running a business with thousands of employees..” [Orlando Sentinel, 8/8/10]. 
Sink has decades of business experience and a long record of community and civic involvement.  As Florida’s CFO, her first elected office which she’s held only since 2007, Sink has been in Tallahassee just long enough to prove that her business-like approach will allow her to hold government accountable and clean up the corruption. 
Rick Scott now faces an electorate with what could be insurmountable doubts about his character and integrity.  And unlike in his primary, in the general election he faces an outsider with a long and respected business record, decades of community involvement in Florida, and real appeal.

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