CLEARWATER — Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that Democrats running for statewide office should follow the lead of Ron DeSantis and forgo their taxpayer salaries while campaigning.
DeSantis resigned from Congress last week to focus on his race for governor in a highly unusual move.
Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, is running against DeSantis for governor. Nelson faces a challenge from Scott to hold onto his U.S. Senate seat.
Scott doesn't have to leave his job while running for Senate, he said, because he doesn't take a salary. Scott is independently wealthy.
"I haven't taken a salary since I got elected back in 2010, while people are campaigning they ought to forgo their compensation," Scott said.
The comment came during a campaign event in Clearwater. The governor has embarked on a Senate campaign bus tour with stops across the state (which he sometimes flies to, Politico reported).
Scott's suggestion didn't extend to two Republicans running for statewide office. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is in the middle of a re-election campaign while still in his current position, and Rep. Matt Caldwell is running for Agriculture Commissioner and remains a member of the state legislature.
Gillum's campaign scoffed at the idea.
"It's unfortunate Rick Scott is more focused on personal attacks than doing his job as Governor," Gillum spokesman Geoff Burgan said. "As Governor, Mayor Gillum will fight for affordable healthcare, higher wages, and more money for schools."
Nelson campaign adviser Dan McLaughlin said Scott is the one who should resign for "exploiting state ethics laws and secretly investing his own money in projects he backed as governor."
"Not only has he done a poor job as governor, he's greatly enriched himself in public office in a way that hides it and raises serious ethical and legal questions," McLaughlin said.