Though it was billed as official business, Gov. Rick Scott’s event in Lighthouse Point was all about politics.
Mission No. 1: Get Scott re-elected. Mission 2: Get other Republicans elected or re-elected.
The event was staffed by Scott’s taxpayer paid office, and it was announced (Monday morning, several hours before the event) by the government office.
But the cheering crowd (and it cheered a lot) was recruited last week through emails from the Broward Republican Party and a field organizer for the state Republican Party.
The 21 minutes of Republican talk came from Scott; Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera; George Moraitis, the Fort Lauderdale state representative (whose name was twice mangled by the governor); County Commissioner Chip LaMarca of Lighthouse Point; and J. Thomas Sheehan, owner/operator of Sheehan Buick GMC, the host.
The audience was an all-star cast including Broward Republican Chairman Tom Truex, Palm Beach County Republican state committeeman and Florida national committeeman Peter Feaman, Broward Republican vice chairman Christine Butler, former Broward Republican vice chairman Ken Haiko, and a elected officials and a slew of local committeemen and committeewomen (among them Joe Cobo, Celeste Ellich, Ed Bender and Chad Lincoln).
Plenty of local Republican elected officials were there too, including Coral Springs Commissioner Tom Powers, Hollywood Commissioner Patty Asseff, Hillsboro Beach Commissioner Vicky Feaman (sister of Peter Feaman), and many from Lighthouse Point.
Most of Scott’s remarks before the assembled dozens of Republicans were an echo of his standard speech, including some jabs at former Gov. Charlie Crist (now a Democrat seeking to regain his old job) by talking about the time when Crist was chief executive and the Great Recession was wreaking havoc on the Florida economy.
Scott and Lopez-Cantera later answered reporters’ questions – for four minutes and seven seconds.
They got out their message of the day – criticizing Crist on Cuba. Scott deferred to Lopez-Cantera to make the sharpest criticisms of Crist, preferring to project optimism and talk jobs.
“It’s a great day to be in Florida. We have great weather. We have great people. We don’t have the ice storms and snow up north. And we’re working on a $500 million tax cut,” Scott said.
When a reporter pressed Scott on whether he’d flip flopped on a piece of legislation he’d signed, questioning ended with his usual, “Thanks everybody. It’s a great day to be in Florida.”