Once news broke that Rick Scott’s campaign finance co-chair, Mike Fernandez, quit the campaign late Thursday night, the immediate reaction from Florida Republicans was to equate Fernandez’ quitting with Bill Hyers being axed from Charlie Crist’s campaign. However, comparing the Fernandez situation with Hyres’ false-start is like comparing apples and oranges.
Indeed, both Scott and Crist have now lost pieces from the chess board, but Fernandez’s departure is on scale with losing a bishop or a rook, while Hyers wasn’t on the board long enough to matter.
Hyres never made it to Florida from New York City because he, reportedly, showed up in casual attire to an upscale fundraiser and, in doing so, upset Crist’s wife. Fernandez contributed $1 million to Scott’s re-election and, in the past, has raised many, many millions for GOP candidates.
Where the Crist campaign was not comfortable with out-of-towner Hyers, it was Fernandez who was uncomfortable with the struggling Scott campaign and its managers, Adam Hollingswroth and Melissa Sellers.
Hyers has been replaced and already improved upon with the hiring of Omar Khan. Fernandez cannot be replaced and the extent of the fallout from his quitting is unknown, especially if Marc Caputo’s reporting about Republican operatives joking around in heavy Mexican accents, gains legs.
The bottom-line here is that campaign managers are a dime-a-dozen, while a billionaire donor with a Hispanic pedigree is a rare commodity.