Attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott‘s Republican U.S. Senate campaign have sent letters to television stations throughout Florida demanding they pull a commercial from the Senate Majority PAC that charges him with cutting education funding by $1.3 billion early in his tenure.

The letter contends the commercial is false and misleading.

Beyond that, the letter asserts that attacks such as those on Scott are dangerous right now, because they undermine public trust in him as he and his administration’s respond to Hurricane Michael.

The campaign charges that the commercial’s claims that Scott can’t be trusted is a false and dangerous message as he tries to organize public safety in the impacted areas. The letter implies that the state of emergency should apply to ward off negative advertising that undermines trust in government.

The letter actually was sent Wednesday as Hurricane Michael was preparing to hit, though Scott’s campaign. The campaign announced the effort Friday afternoon.

“During a time that the State of Florida is bracing for Category 4 Hurricane Michael, the station has an obligation to protect the public and a false negative adverisement being aired about the current Governor during a State of Emergency diminishes the ability of the state’s government to communicate emergency safety information to Florida residents and hurts the state as a whole,” the letter from Steve Roberts, counsel to Rick Scott for Florida, states.

Specifically, the SMP ad charges that Scott cut the state’s education budget by $1.3 billion, and also cut taxes for corporations, while also seeing his own wealth grow, implying that he moved that money from education to tax cuts that benefitted himself.

The letter counters that the bulk of the cuts were in federal stimulous grants that had expired by 2011 and ’12, not from the general fund, and that there was no connection between that and tax cuts, and no direct connection betwen tax cuts and his own investments. It also states that over the next seven years with Scott as governor, Florida’s education budget grew each year.

“It’s inexcusable that an out-of-state democratic group would run a false, negative ad attempting to portray Governor Scott as untrustworthy while he works day and night to keep families safe from one of the most devastating hurricanes we have ever seen,” Scott for Florida Spokesman Chris Hartline stated in the news release. “The people of Florida rely on Governor Scott for accurate storm response and safety information – and a false ad suggesting Floridians should not listen to the Governor isn’t just ill-timed, it’s dangerous. Senator Nelson has claimed that this hurricane is not about politics – if he truly believes that, the Senator should demand his democratic allies immediately take down this irresponsible ad.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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