Several weeks ago, a Florida legislator warned citizens of the dangers they might face if it elected Republican Rick Scott as governor.
"We do not need that seat to be a seat where you're learning," she said, "to be a seat where it's for personal gain, to be a seat where the residents and the citizens of the state of the Florida will be negatively impacted because of the lack of vision."
That person accusing Scott of lacking vision and seeking gain wasn't some flaming liberal. She was a Republican state representative.
And not just any Republican, but Jennifer Carroll — the woman currently serving as Scott's running mate; his pick for lieutenant governor.
Carroll wasn't alone in her sentiments. In fact, you can make a thoroughly damning case against Scott — simply by quoting the members of his own party.
Steve Forbes was so alarmed at the prospect of a Scott governorship that he wrote a piece for the Tampa Tribune in July that said Scott wasn't qualified "to run a lemonade stand, let alone the nation's fourth-largest state."
The conservative magazine publisher told readers about how the hospital chain Scott founded stole from taxpayers, keeping two sets of books and ultimately pleading guilty to 14 felonies.
Scott "doesn't like to talk about how that story ends," Forbes wrote, "being ousted as CEO by his board of directors, massive federal fraud charges and unprecedented company fines totaling $1.7 billion."
While acknowledging that Scott was never personally charged in the scheme, Forbes said Scott's claims that he was ignorant of the rampant wrongdoing amounted to "stunning managerial incompetence."
The list goes on.
Republican State Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, a former director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, said Scott had "personally profited from the destruction of innocent human life" because abortion services were offered at his hospitals.
A group of nearly a dozen Republican state reps was so disturbed by Scott's refusal to release a potentially damaging deposition that they asked him to drop out of the race unless he came clean.
And the campaign of Scott's primary opponent, Attorney General Bill McCollum, simply labeled Scott "a greedy and dishonest insider."
This, my fellow voters, is the GOP nominee of Florida — as described solely by leaders of that very party.
All of this was in the midst of a heated primary. And some of the speakers have since changed their tune — including Carroll, after Scott offered her a position on his ticket.
But all of the comments above came from people who consider themselves patriotic Republicans. They came voluntarily and without qualifications, describing Scott as an ill-prepared, dishonest profiteer who couldn't be trusted with your money — much less your vote.
Some of this seems to be sinking in. Democrat Alex Sink has been gaining in the polls recently, even taking the lead by 5 or 6 points in a few.
It appears to be the result of voters like the Murphys of Seminole County, who are doing some soul-searching.
The Murphys are die-hard Republicans who reached out to me last week, saying they were torn. They had real problems with Scott's background, but hated the idea of "giving Obama even one more Democratic governor to help his questionable cause."
Sink, however, isn't exactly a hard-core leftie. In fact, she's so moderate that many liberals have complained about it.
She doesn't demagogue social issues. Instead, she spent her term as Florida's CFO pursuing serious-minded financial reforms — even winning praise from conservatives for challenging Charlie Crist's insurance reforms and teaming up with Republicans to rein in no-bid contracts.
In fact, Sink has been so focused on watching state dollars that she's been mocked for it. Such was the case earlier this year when she discovered a way to save $200,000 by cutting back on office supplies. At first, some Republicans teased her for focusing on "paper clips" … until it was revealed that, if implemented statewide, her plan could save taxpayers $14 million.
The teasing stopped.
I told the Murphys that they should support whomever they wanted — but that if they couldn't support a moderate Democrat like Sink vs. someone with a record like Scott's, I wasn't sure what to tell them.
The Murphys later responded, saying that, upon serious contemplation, the decision to support Sink was "a no-brainer."
The polls seem to suggest that more people are reaching similar conclusions — that Scott's once-appealing claim of being an "outsider" has become less appealing as his record has been exposed and as he jumped in bed with the very same insiders he once decried.
More voters seem to be reaching the conclusion that the Republicans were right in the first place — their candidate can't be trusted.
Scott Maxwell can be reached at 407-420-6141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun