TAMPA, Fla. — Florida's Democratic candidate for governor, Alex Sink, said Monday she will begin airing a rare two-minute-long TV ad attacking Republican opponent Rick Scott for the massive fraud scandal that occurred on his watch at his former hospital company.
The commercial contains no new revelations, but a two-minute-long political ad is rare in Florida, where candidates typically relay their messages in 30-second spots.
"It takes more than a 30-second ad to detail my opponent's long record of unethical business practices and even fraud investigations and criminal investigations," Sink, the state's elected chief financial officer, said in a news conference.
The ad, which has the look and feel of a TV crime drama called "Fraud Files," is scheduled to run once during evening newscasts in the Tampa Bay market on Wednesday, although the campaign hinted that it may run later in more of the state's 10 TV markets. The campaign wouldn't reveal the cost of the ad buy.
Scott won the Republican primary despite a barrage of attacks over his leadership of Columbia/HCA, the hospital conglomerate he founded and led as CEO in the 1990s. He was ousted by his board in 1997 amid a massive federal investigation into fraudulent Medicare billing, and the company eventually paid a record $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges.
Scott has said he didn't know about any wrongdoing and was never charged.
His campaign said in a statement that Sink and state Democrats are "repackaging old, tired attacks that failed to resonate with Floridians in the primary."
His spokesman, Brian Burgess, suggested Sink was trying to deflect attention away from recent Scott attacks, including that her office signed off on licensing a convicted felon to work in the insurance business in Florida.
Scott, a wealthy political newcomer backed by tea party activists, spent about $50 million of his own money in beating Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary.
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