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For Rick Scott, 2018 is a referendum on ‘socialism’

Democratic voters chose a gubernatorial nominee, Andrew Gillum, who presented the most progressive vision of any option put forth by the Florida party.

For current Governor Rick Scott, that tack to the left has proven to be endless fodder for him in his challenge to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a centrist of the old style.

On Wednesday, Scott’s press shop pushed an increasingly familiar narrative: that the Nelson/Gillum “ticket” is too radical, too socialist for Florida.

“Three weeks ago, Florida Democrats nominated the most liberal gubernatorial candidate in the history of the state. The Gillum-Nelson-Socialism ticket has already stated that they will undo the pro-growth, pro-family, low-tax record of the last 8 years,” Scott’s campaign asserted.

Nelson established distance from Gillum in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, and Scott’s campaign noticed, spotlighting assertions like “I don’t want to abolish ICE. I want to abolish Trump” and “I’ve got enough trouble just trying to save Obamacare.”

“It’s no surprise that a confused, career Washington politician will say one thing one week and another thing the next,” Scott asserted.

“Last week Senator Nelson said Gillum’s positions are mainstream. This week he’s disavowing them. It’s clear Bill Nelson will say anything (and in this case everything) to try to desperately hold on to political office. But at the end of the day, the voters of Florida know the damage that the Gillum-Nelson-Socialism ticket will have on them and their families,” Scott asserted.

Scott has messaged heavily around the theme that the 2018 race pits Republicans against socialists, including during a Jacksonville stop this week.

“The Democrats are talking about big government socialism, [saying] ‘oh, it’s fair,’” Scott said. “Yeah, it’s fair — we all do bad. We all do poorly under socialism.”

These are themes that Scott and the Republican who would replace him, former Congressman Ron DeSantis, have hammered home. As have other Republican groups.

“Nelson’s desperate backtracking from his support of socialist Andrew Gillum isn’t fooling anyone,” said Camille Gallo, National Republican Senatorial Committee Spokesperson. “Floridians know that Bill Nelson will work with Andrew Gillum to take Florida in a dangerous direction and stand ready to reject their radical agenda and elect Rick Scott in November.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at

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