How Alzheimer’s became an issue in the Republican U.S. Senate primary

in 2017/Top Headlines by

These are interesting times in the GOP primary for Florida’s United States seat.

Evidence has emerged that Carlos Beruff, the Manatee homebuilder, is getting some traction with his TV ad-driven outsider campaign.

Gov. Rick Scott spoke highly of Beruff this week in Sarasota, and said he would not endorse between Beruff and Carlos Lopez-Cantera, saying that both would “do a good job.”

Perhaps with this in mind, an email went out from the CLC press shop spotlighting a controversial statement made by Beruff.

“I learn every day. It’s sort of like Alzheimer’s. So I’ve got a new and exciting day every day,” Beruff was quoted as saying.

CLC campaign manager Brian Swensen issued a fusillade.

“Mr. Beruff’s comments comparing himself to an Alzheimer’s patient are not only offensive to those who suffer with the disease, they demonstrate why he’s unfit to be a United States Senator,” Swensen said, adding that Beruff  “should apologize to the tens of thousands of Floridians who suffer or care for loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s, and he should go back to private life where he can support his friend Charlie Crist, who forgot what it meant to be a Republican.”

From what we understand, Beruff was incensed.

The official response from campaign manager Chris Hardline was somewhat more measured.

“Carlos (Beruff) knows more than anyone how serious Alzheimer’s is. He and his dad spent 13 years caring for his mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Carlos also knows that humor is one of the best ways to cope. Anyone who knows Carlos or has seen him on the campaign trail knows how important his mother was to him and the incredible impact she had on his life,” Hartline said.

“Unfortunately,” Hartline added, “Carlos Lopez-Cantera is doing what professional politicians do, desperately trying to make this a political issue when it shouldn’t be. He should be ashamed.”

A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at