Thursday, June 21, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott won't dump his fortune into re-election

Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that not only will he seek a second term in 2014 — as most everyone expected — but he predicted that he won't have to reach into his own pocket to pay for a re-election campaign like he did the first time.

Scott, who spent more than $73 million of his own money to win in 2010, made the announcement in a matter-of-fact way during a 25-minute question-and-answer session with reporters in his office. A reporter asked the governor whether he anticipated the need to write checks for a second campaign.

"I won't have to," Scott said, adding: "I'm running for re-election. I like this job. This is the best job you can imagine. … In this job, if you care about anybody's family in this state, you can have a positive impact. You can impact their education system."

Scott's political fundraising 527 organization, "Let's Get to Work," collected $910,000 in the first quarter of this year.

Asked how much a 2014 race would cost, Scott said: "I don't know what it will cost, but we'll have the money to win."

Democrats voted for Poly, too

Before Scott announced Florida Polytechnic as the state's 12th university on Friday, the Florida Democratic Party released a statement condemning the action.

"This move is nothing more than an appalling and wasteful power play by the Republicans in Tallahassee. The people of Florida didn't ask for this university, they don't need it and can't afford it," wrote Brannon Jordan, Democratic Party spokesperson.

But the Democratic Party release had one important omission: Most Senate and House Democrats voted to create the new university.

That led Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry to quickly call out the Democratic Party condemnation as "nonsense." "If they wanted to go after anyone on this issue, perhaps it should have been their own senators," Curry said in a release.

Senate Democratic leader Nan Rich of Weston agreed: "Before the party puts out a release, they should check and see how everyone voted."

Crist's law firm gives to Obama

Morgan & Morgan, the personal injury law firm where former Gov. Charlie Crist works, gave $50,000 to a pro-Barack Obama super PAC. The contribution to Priorities USA Action was spotted by the Center for Public Integrity.

It's not terribly surprising given that John Morgan is a big-time Democratic donor and has hosted fundraisers for the president's re-election effort. But it adds a layer to Crist's political conversion, from Republican governor to independent candidate for U.S. Senate to talked-about Democratic candidate for governor.

ACLU criticizes Bondi

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida slammed Attorney General Pam Bondi Tuesday for supporting an Arizona law the group says unfairly targets immigrants and encourages racial profiling.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today on the law, which among other things, requires police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being undocumented.

"As Florida's principal legal officer, the attorney general should know that racial profiling is bad policing, and that it drives an unnecessary wedge between law enforcement and the communities it protects," said ACLU of Florida director Howard Simon.

Bondi, alongside 15 attorneys general from other states, signed a legal brief in support of the law in February. She defended her decision Tuesday as a matter of "state's rights," but said Florida is not identical to Arizona and doesn't necessarily warrant the same policies.

"I'm not saying it's right or wrong for Florida," she said, adding that Arizona should be permitted to protect its own borders if the federal government falls short.

Times staff writers Brittany Alana Davis, Adam C. Smith and Alex Leary contributed to this report.

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