ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
clear-night
78°
Partly Cloudy
H 93° L 76°
  • clear-night
    78°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 76°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    89°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 76°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    89°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
In Florida governor’s race, Scott announces campaign team while Crist searching for manager
Close

In Florida governor’s race, Scott announces campaign team while Crist searching for manager

In Florida governor’s race, Scott announces campaign team while Crist searching for manager
Photo Credit: Gary Coronado
Crist

In Florida governor’s race, Scott announces campaign team while Crist searching for manager

After taking plenty of time filling a 10-month vacancy for lieutenant governor, Rick Scott has moved swiftly in rounding out the top of his re-election campaign team.

Melissa Sellers, communications director in the governor’s office, punched out of that job Friday to become Scott’s campaign manager. State Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, once eyed as a possible running mate, will now do double duty as a lawmaker while also serving in the largely ceremonial post of campaign chairman.

Campaign finance co-chairs will be Mike Fernandez and Darlene Jordan, who winters in Palm Beach.

Fernandez runs MBF Healthcare Partners, a Coral Gables-based equity company, and tucked a $1 million check into Scott’s re-election campaign in November.

Jordan, a Palm Beach Preservation Foundation trustee, is a former Boston prosecutor who runs the financial firm, Hellman, Jordan Management Co., with her husband, Jerry. The couple contributed heavily to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and have been close to him since he first ran for governor of Massachusetts.

Fernandez and Jordan will be titular leaders of Scott’s effort to raise what he has said would be a $100 million re-election campaign.

“We’ve made much progress over the past three years,” Scott said in announcing the new hires. “But there is so much more to be done and I will keep my eyes focused on Florida’s future.”

Among others named: Matt Moon, who will be switching from his communications director role with the Florida Republican Party to the same post with Scott Re-Elect. Taking his place in the Florida GOP will be Susan Hepworth, lately the party’s press secretary.

In another move from party to campaign, Tim Saler, lately a Florida GOP strategist, will become Sellers’ deputy manager in charge of media and voter outreach programs.

Not mentioned in the campaign lineup is Scott’s chief-of-staff, Adam Hollingsworth, who remains in the governor’s office despite drawing heat in December following media reports that he falsified his resume while working for a previous employer.

Party fundraisers, though, still see Hollingsworth as having his hand on both steering wheels: the campaign and governor’s office.

Meanwhile, the chief consultant in Scott’s victorious 2010 campaign, Tony Fabrizio, has a diminished role this go-around, after clashing with Hollingsworth.

By contrast, Scott’s leading rival, Democrat Charlie Crist, has few of the trappings of a campaign organization.

Crist had Democratic operative Bill Hyers lined up in November as campaign manager – ready to capitalize on a hot political property who had just helped Bill de Blasio win the New York mayor’s race.

But Hyers backed out – evidently preferring to stay in the Northeast rather than launch a yearlong stay in Florida.

Crist is still shopping for a manager, advisers said.

“He’s doing fine,” said Kevin Cate, a Crist spokesman. “We’re raising money and he’s having no trouble getting his message out. But you watch — in the next month or so, we’ll be making some announcements.”

At the end of December, Crist had about $2.8 million on hand for his campaign – while Scott had $24.4 million in contributions. The Florida Republican Party had about $23 million in cash on hand, compared with about $2 million for Florida Democrats, state records show.

Asked about the mismatch last week, Crist turned it into a badge of honor.

Scott was to spend the weekend with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is on a two-day, four-city swing across Florida, including a stop in Palm Beach, to raise money. The cash will flow to Scott, the Republican Governors Association and the state GOP.

“For them, it seems to be all about the money,” Crist said outside a Tallahassee fundraiser of his own Thursday evening. “Whoever he thinks can come down and get him more money, he’s willing to stand with.”’

Christie recently has been rocked by news that top aides last year allegedly conspired to shut down lanes of traffic leading to the busy George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee. Christie says he was “blindsided” by the news.

Crist also reacted when told that Republicans have boasted they will race so much cash for the governor’s race that Crist won’t know what hit him.

“That’s a heckuva an attitude, to not know what hit me,” Crist said. “I’m running because I want to help my fellow Floridians. I’m not interested in hitting people. What kind of attitude is that? What kind of message is that?”

Crist said Republicans had a “callous attitude.”

Just hours before Scott fleshed out his campaign team, Crist also took a swipe at the governor when asked to evaluate former state House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s selection as running mate last week.

“Carlos is a fine fellow, but he’s with the wrong guy,” Crist said.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A scare happened at a Leominster, Massachusetts, supermarket after a 4-day-old newborn was left locked inside of a hot car while her mother was inside shopping. >> Read more trending news Mother Sharma Murphy said that on her way to Market Basket supermarket on Friday, she stopped by the fire house to make sure her baby’s car seat was properly installed. Less than an hour later, those firefighters helped rescue her 4-day-old baby, who was locked in her hot car. A shopper called Leominster police after spotting a newborn alone inside a car. It was Sharma Murphy's silver Chevy Malibu. >> A reminder of hot car dangers as temperatures climb Murphy said she was out for the first time with her newborn daughter, 4-day-old Katherine, and was nervous. “I went, I bought it. Came right out and this lady just starts screaming at me. Screaming at me,” said Murphy. Murphy said she brought her newborn inside with her to Market Basket and then returned to the car when Katherine fell asleep. She said that she ran back inside for two or three minutes to buy some baby formula. “I went (in and) I bought it,” Murphy said. “(I) came right out and this lady just starts screaming at me.” Related: Two toddlers dead after 15 hours in hot car, police say Police said the windows were rolled up. “I believe she locked her keys in the car because they had to use the jimmy to get the baby out,” witness John Casey told WFXT. According to WFXT meteorologists, the outside temperature was 84 degrees at the time. Murphy said she didn’t want to wake her newborn. “I thought, ‘OK, if I run in and run out...’ It was one of those things where she's gotta eat because I have nothing left for her and that's when everything happened and I'm like, oh my God,” Murphy said. Katherine was taken to the hospital to be checked out. Her mother said he is fine. The baby is currently in custody of DCF. No charges have been filed.
  • Police in Georgia are hoping surveillance video that captured a violent attack will help them find the people responsible. Video shows a restaurant owner and her teenage daughter being beaten by two customers Thursday afternoon in Baxley, Georgia. >> Read more trending news The victims told police the suspects were unhappy with their order. The verbal argument turned violent when one of the suspects began punching the restaurant owner repeatedly. When the victim’s teenage daughter came out of the car to break up the fight, the male suspect punched her in the face. WJCL reported that Baxley police have issued warrants for the suspects, Nathaniel Smith and Latasha Smith. The pair could be charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children. The suspects drove away from the restaurant in a cream or tan Cadillac Escalade with tag number REU8495. Officials said they headed north on Highway 144. Anyone with any information about the assault is asked to call the Baxley Police Department at 912-367-8305 or the 911 call center at 912-367-8111.
  • Authorities have identified a 10-year-old boy killed on an Alabama beach this week as Tropical Storm Cindy churned toward shore.  Nolan McCabe, of St. Louis, Missouri, was vacationing in Fort Morgan with his family Wednesday morning when Cindy’s storm surge washed a large log on the beach over the boy. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Nolan suffered severe head injuries when the log rolled over his body.  Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Mack estimated that the log was about 14 feet long and weighed several hundred pounds, the Post-Dispatch said.  AL.com reported that Nolan was killed feet away from the front door of the beachfront home in which he and his family were staying.  >> Read more trending news Nolan’s father, Joshua McCabe, told investigators that he was also outside that morning, attending to other children playing on the beach. He ran toward his son when he saw a large wave coming ashore, but was unable to grab Nolan before the log was washed into him.  Efforts by family members, firefighters and emergency medical technicians to resuscitate Nolan were unsuccessful, AL.com reported.  Nolan, an avid cub scout, would have been a fifth-grade student at Wohlwend Elementary in St. Louis in the fall. A statement the Mehlville School District indicated that the boy’s parents and sister were all present when he died.  Nolan was the third elementary student in the school district to die since April, the district’s statement said. One boy was killed in a car crash, and the other was struck by a car while riding his bike.  The parent-teacher organization at Wohlwend Elementary set up a GoFundMe account to help Nolan’s family with the expenses related to his death. 
  • A 9-foot-6 inch sturgeon weighing in at 500 pounds was found pinned Thursday in a radial gate at the Keno Dam in Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. >> Read more trending news The fish had sustained a head injury at some point and was dead when officials found it. It is believed to have been one of 221 sturgeons moved in 1958 from the Columbia River to Klamath County. At the time, officials were attempting to create fisheries in the area. However, the fish didn’t take, and officials found no evidence that they were able to spawn in their new homes. “It’s thought the female sturgeon was from the original transplant group,” ODFW said in a Facebook post. “Most of those fish would be from 60 to 70 years old now, with the potential to live nearly 100 years.” District fish biologist Bill Tinniswood said the fish, a female sturgeon, had millions of eggs upon her death. Officials believe that the lack of available male sturgeons to spawn with left the eggs to build up. Two anglers have reported seeing sturgeons on the Upper Klamath Lake this year, Tinniswood said.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking you to keep an eye out for a missing elderly man, diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.   JSO tells us Waverly Northington Jr., 66, left his home in the 8200 block of Halls Hammock Court on Friday morning, between the hours of 12:00 am and 2:45 am.   Police say they've conducted an extensive search, but haven't been able to find him. We're told Northington doesn't have a vehicle, so he's believed to be on foot.   Northington is described as a black male, 5'9'', 130 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing all white clothing with white shoes.   If you know where he is, or even if you've spotted him somewhere today, you're urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at (904) 630-0500.

The Latest News Videos