Scott Pulls Ahead of Crist in Florida Governor's Race

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:28 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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After trailing former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist — a Republican turned independent turned Democrat — in the polls, the Sunshine State’s sitting GOP Gov. Rick Scott has pulled ahead, according to The Miami Herald, which cited a WFLA poll.

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WFLA News Channel 8

As recently as late April, Crist led the incumbent Scott by 10 points, a Quinnipiac University poll indicated at that time.

"So far, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s television barrage apparently has had no impact on the race," Peter Brown, assistant director of the poll, was quoted by The Associated Press when the April poll was published. "The incumbent has not been able to reduce former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead. In fact, voters see Crist’s party switch in a positive light and the incumbent’s effort to tie Crist’s support for Obamacare has not yet borne fruit."

Fast forward a month and Scott’s $10 million media assault and Crist's support for Obamacare appears to be paying off. The Republican governor now leads Crist by a 42 percent to 40 percent margin, the poll conducted by SurveyUSA for Tampa's WFLA NBC affiliate shows.

The poll had a margin of 4.3 percentage points.

Scott has opened his coffers to strike Crist in his own backyard, Central Florida’s I-4 corridor, "the swing area of the swing state," according to the Herald. The newspaper notes that Crist may also be facing some inner turmoil within his new party.

The left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows that 89 percent of Florida Democrats favor a primary debate between Crist and fellow candidate Nan Rich, a former state senator. Even so, Crist has avoided debating Rich, despite his sizable lead over her in the polls.

"Progressive Choice calls on Charlie Crist to listen to the voters of Florida and debate the issues important to them," said Jamie Fontaine-Gansell, chairwoman of Progressive Choice, an organization that advocates for leaders who stand firm on progressive principles, according to SaintPetersBlog.

Crist has maintained that he’s "focused on Rick Scott."

As of April, Crist had raised close to $10 million, The Florida Times-Union reported, while Scott had already raised that amount a year ago.

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