Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Rick Scott, the wealthy Republican running for the Florida governor's seat, has a bailout problem. No, he doesn't support using trillions in taxpayer money to save failing banks. But he does have a habit of bailing out on big-time campaign events, a nasty habit that's coincided with a drop in the polls just a few days before Tuesday's primary election.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Scott, a former big-time hospital executive, bailed out of an event hosted by the Boca Raton Republican Club where he would've appeared alongside his primary opponent, Florida attorney general Bill McCollum. A record crowd had turned out, organizers said, to see the two candidates side-by-side. As it turns out, that's an arrangement that Scott has seemingly avoided when he feels like it.
Earlier this month, Scott dodged a forum with McCollum hosted by the Christian Family Coalition, even though he willingly delivered a speech of his own at the same CFC setting earlier in the day. And Scott also dodged a televised debate hosted by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association pitting him against McCollum.
Here's more from the Sun-Sentinel on Scott's latest bailout:
Club president Margi Helschien said Scott's staff had repeatedly confirmed his appearance, and did a walk-through of the venue earlier this week at the Boca Raton Marriott.
Helschein said Scott's staff confirmed at 1 p.m. Thursday that he would be at the event. At 4 p.m., she got a call from the Scott campaign saying he was in the Panhandle and wouldn't show up.
The campaign offered up the candidate's mother, Esther Scott. Helschein accepted, figuring she could provide people with some insight into her son.
"What better person to know a candidate than their mother," she said.
Scott's aversion to tough questioning apparently extends to reporters as well. Earlier this summer, Scott's staff "barred a Miami television reporter from his campaign bus for the offense of asking Esther Scott a few questions about her son," the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The latest Quinnipiac poll for Florida's GOP gubernatorial race shows McCollum out in front, 44 percent to 35 percent. The Broward New Times has five pretty hilarious reasons of their own for why the tall, bald-headed Scott skipped the Boca Raton event. (Hint: Number three is "Jet lag from trips to the planet Krypton.")