Friday, October 31st, 2014

The Florida governor's race: the fact-checks so far

Rick Scott, left, and Charlie Crist (Tampa Bay Times file photos)
Rick Scott, left, and Charlie Crist (Tampa Bay Times file photos)

The Florida primary for governor is Tuesday, but so far there have been plenty of attacks between the two frontrunners: incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist. 

Crist has virtually ignored Democratic rival Nan Rich, a former state senator. Crist and Rich haven’t addressed each other in any claims that PolitiFact Florida has checked. (See Rich's PolitiFact Florida report card.)

But former Republican (and former independent) Crist has been the target of plenty of attacks from the GOP side. 

The Republican Party of Florida has accused him of making it easier for electric provider Duke Energy to take consumers’ money (False); riding on a jet owned by "a serial polluter" (True); voting against increasing the minimum wage (Half True); raising taxes by $2.2 billion (Mostly True); opposing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants (True); and supporting cuts to Medicare Advantage (False).

The state GOP contradicted Crist when he said Florida’s own insurance commissioner couldn’t regulate health insurance because of a law passed under Scott. The party wrongly said it was Obamacare that prevented the state from regulating insurance, a statement we ruled Pants on Fire!

Scott has also gone after Crist, mostly on education spending and the economy.

Scott said former Gov. Crist spent his first term in office letting college tuition increase up to 15 percent every year (Mostly True) and laying off 3,000 teachers (Mostly False). Scott also has said the state is still recovering from 825,000 job losses under Crist, with the unemployment rate ballooning to 11.1 percent during Crist’s term (Half True). Scott has said that his own administration has drawn down the state debt -- which he said was $5.2 billion under Crist -- by $2 billion (Half True).

Scott has faced plenty of attacks from Crist, too. Crist said Scott raised property taxes (Mostly False), tried to cut education spending by $3.3 billion (Mostly True) while spending about $200 less per student (Mostly True), and cut Bright Futures scholarships in half (Half True).

The Florida Democratic Party has also fired shots at Scott.

It said Scott "oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in the nation’s history" (Mostly True), although the record has since been passed. The Democrats also claimed Scott said education was not a core function of the state government (False) and that he cut more jobs than were created in 2012, which earned the Dems a Pants on Fire!

Most recently, a billionaire-backed action committee called NextGen Climate has been going after Scott, as well. They said he took $200,000 in campaign contributions from a company that "profited off pollution" (Half True) and that he let Duke Energy fleece customers (Half True).

These and many more fact checks can be found at the candidates’ PolitiFact report cards. Read more about Scott here, and see how we weighed in on Crist here.