Gov. Rick Scott, who got elected four years ago after spending more than $70 million of his own money, is being forced to dip into his own wallet in the final days of his re-election campaign.
Scott told a Miami television station Wednesday that he is going to be “investing” in his race, although he did not cite a specific amount. The amount probably won’t be known until the end of the month.
The decision by the Republican incumbent comes as polls show the race essentially tied with less than two weeks left before Election Day. Scott has been outspending his main rival, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, for months as the Scott campaign has leveled a barrage of negative attack ads at the former governor.
Crist and the Democrats waited until October to start accelerating their own television ads. But Crist, meanwhile, has begun to raise more money than Scott, although the amounts don’t reflect any money raised directly for the state’s two political parties.
Scott told WFOR-TV that he was dipping into his own wallet to “offset” what he called a “smear campaign” by wealthy California billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer’s so-called “super PAC,” NextGen Climate has put nearly $12 million into Florida. That money has been used on ads that target Scott over utility companies and oil drilling. The Scott campaign has called the ads false and has tried to get television stations to take them down.
A spokeswoman for the Scott campaign said the amount that will be put in by the governor will be a “small fraction” of what he has raised from other contributors.
During a campaign event in Jacksonville, Crist said Scott’s decision to pump in his own money “sounds like he’s desperate” and that he is trying to “buy the governor’s mansion again.”
“He’s spent a boatload of money and obviously he’s going to spend a boatload more,” Crist said. “But money can’t vote. People do.”
Scott is a multimillionaire who was ousted from his role as CEO of Columbia/HCA amid a Medicare fraud investigation that eventually led to the company paying a $1.7 billion settlement. Scott was not charged with anything but Crist’s campaign manager Omar Khan said in a statement that Scott was paying for his campaign out of his “ill-gotten gains” from the company.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.