Almost Every Major Newspaper in Florida Endorses Charlie Crist for Governor

By Deirdra Funcheon Mon., Oct. 20 2014 at 9:46 AM

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Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg

 

Nearly every major newspaper in Florida has endorsed Charlie Crist for governor this week.

The endorsements began with the Tampa Bay Times weighing in last weekend and theMiami Herald and Sun Sentinel weighing in on Friday, followed this past weekend by theOrlando Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post.

The only one that has endorsed Rick Scott is the Tampa Tribune, while daily papers in Fort Myers, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville have yet to weigh in.

On October 10, the Tampa Bay Times opined that “key priorities directly influenced by state government have badly eroded under a governor and Legislature that care more about the welfare of the state’s biggest business interests than the issues that matter most to Floridians.”

From the endorsement:

Scott cares about corporations and boasts of the millions in tax breaks he has promised in return for creating jobs. Crist cares more about the average Floridians holding those jobs.

 

The endorsement for Crist from the state’s highest-circulation paper was really no surprise.In a February editorial, the TBT had said that, “In three years Scott has done more harm than any modern governor, from voting rights to privacy rights, public schools to higher education, environmental protection to health care. One more legislative session and a $100 million re-election campaign will not undo the damage.”

The Miami Herald chimed in Friday, saying the choice is clear: The two candidates are “polar opposites on defining issues for the future of Florida.” Scott’s almost singular focus is jobs, while Crist places importance on a broader range of issues, from government transparency to climate change.

The Sun Sentinel explains that “Scott wants voters to focus solely on the fact that Florida’s unemployment rate was 12 percent when he took office and is now 6.3 percent.”

Scott, the paper points out, “takes full credit for the decline and assigns Crist full blame for jobs lost during the previous four years.” But the sitting governor “is claiming undue credit for job gains and too often has substituted political ideology for sensible policy.”

The Orlando Sentinel says that, of “two flawed candidates,” choosing Crist was “the inescapable conclusion”:

Though he ran as a conservative Republican in 2006, Crist governed as a moderate. He showed more interest in doing what was in the best interest of all Floridians than in placating his party base. Scott, by contrast, has too often let his hard-right ideology dictate his policies.

The Palm Beach Post lamented the negative tone of the race but argued that with major issues facing the state in the coming four years, Crist’s commitment to the Everyman is a better choice than Scott’s pro-business approach. The Post specifically notes that Crist is likely to accept $51 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion and to increase education funding.

The Tampa Tribune endorsed Rick Scott, noting that when he first took office and was faced with revenue shortfalls, he “harshly cut education, environmental safeguards and other key programs,” but it ultimately gave him credit for slashing regulations for small businesses and bringing “a private sector-like discipline and accountability to government.”

But hey, Scott has also scooped up endorsements from the National Rifle Association, theLatin Builders Association, and a convicted human trafficker.

The Bradenton Herald refrained from endorsing any candidate. It doesn’t look as if the major daily newspapers in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, or Ft. Myers have endorsed anyone for governor thus far.

Email Deirdra.Funcheon@BrowardPalmBeach.com