Let's give Gov. Rick Scott a chance

Politics: The Local Slant, by Ken Drum

By Ken Drum
East Naples

Let’s give Governor Rick Scott a chance
The 2010 gubernatorial Republican Primary election between Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum was mostly made up of negative campaigning issues. Floridians have seldom seen candidates from the same party go at it like they did. The general election between Scott and Alex Sink was a little more civil for a number of reasons. Reasons that were sound political strategy. It’s more difficult for a man to run a negative campaign against a woman candidate.
Florida Attorney General McCollum thought he had clear sailing to secure the Republican governor’s nomination. His only primary opponent, state Senator Paula Dockery left the race after polling showed that she was performing dismally. McCollum had presumed that he had made himself bulletproof by filing charges questioning the constitutionality of the Obama health care reform bill. Then Rick Scott entered the fray.
Scott a former health care executive entered the race ended up spending 73 million dollars, mostly of his own money, during the primary and general elections. Scott’s theme was that he is an outsider with business experience, while McCollum is a career politician. McCollum based his hopes on endorsements from prominent Republicans like Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour. Barbour claimed that Scott’s attacks on McCollum were vicious and out of line.
Scott won the race with 47% of the vote to McCollum’s 43% . Scott went on to the general election to defeat Democrat Alex Sink 49 to 48 percent. The political fallout from these elections continues because the races were so close and in the case of the Republican Primary, so bitter.
The problem with negative campaigns is that it can leave voters with the impression that both candidates are unworthy and they must vote for the lesser of two evils. The impression has lasted since the election and could make for a difficult start for Governor Scott. Already the anti-Scott talk machine has started to gear up with superfluous discussions of helicopter pads, overly lavish inauguration plans, restricted access of the media and the refusal to pay for the cost of high school marching bands’ attendance at the inauguration.
I say that no matter what you think of Rick Scott or how you voted in the gubernatorial elections let’s give him a chance to see what he can do for Florida. He’s run a large successful company in a difficult competitive industry. He’s talking about the number one issue in the state. The revival of the economy and the creation of jobs. There’s nothing negative about that. The last thing we need in Florida is the bitter acrimonious environment we have witnessed on the national level. Let’s lend our full support to Governor Scott. After all, it’s in our best interest.

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