The latest Mason-Dixon poll released at noon on Thursday shows that Bill McCollum has overcome a 6-percentage-point deficit and now leads Rick Scott by 4 points in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida.
The previous Mason-Dixon poll, released on Aug. 4, showed Scott leading McCollum by a margin of 37 percent to 31 percent. The new poll has McCollum with 34 percent and Scott with 30 percent.
The McCollum campaign has gained new momentum this week with Attorney General McCollum releasing details of his new law aimed at curbing illegal immigration in Florida, and new revelations about Scott’s questionable business dealings.
McCollum on Wednesday said his immigration measure goes “one step further” than the bill signed into law in Arizona. It would mandate that police officers, when stopping, detaining or arresting someone, check to see if that person is in the country legally.
It would also allow judges to take a person’s immigration status into account when setting bond or passing sentence, and require businesses to use E-Verify to assure that people they hire are authorized to work.
Also on Wednesday, Scott came under a cloud when news broke that he had refused to release a deposition he gave in regard to a lawsuit alleging fraudulent practices at a healthcare company he now heads.
Scott founded the company, Solantic Urgent Care — a chain of walk-in clinics — after resigning as CEO of hospital chain Columbia/HCA, which ultimately pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and paid a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages.
Now news comes that two physicians who worked for Solantic filed lawsuits claiming the company repeatedly used their names and medical license information without their permission.
One suit also claimed that Solantic improperly billed Medicare.
Scott gave a videotaped deposition in regard to one of the lawsuits six days before announcing his candidacy for governor, and he has rebuffed calls for the release of the deposition, saying “it’s a private matter.”
The new Mason-Dixon poll shows that a Scott victory in the Aug. 24 GOP primary would greatly diminish Republicans’ chances of winning the general election in November. Democratic candidate Alex Sink now holds a 16-percentage-point lead over Scott, 40 percent to 24 percent, while McCollum and Sink are separated by only two percentage points.
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