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New Rick Scott ad: ‘I’ll give ’em hell up in Washington’

Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee, is launching a new television and internet ad in which he declares Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is complicit in Washington corruption and that Scott will “give ’em Hell in Washington.”

The 30-second spot, “Give ‘Em Hell“, has mostly simple video. Most of it is Scott speaking into the camera while text highlights some of his comments, though there is a spell where viewers get to see computer animation of Nelson aging over 40 years.

“Washington has its own brand of corruption. Politicians who stay politicians forever. Politicians who make promises they never intend to keep – just so they can get money and votes. After 40 years in Washington, that’s the story of Bill Nelson,” Scott states. “A vote for Nelson is a vote for government waste and debt, higher taxes, chaos at the border and weakness abroad. Nelson can’t change Washington. He IS Washington. I’m Rick Scott, I’ll give ‘em hell up in Washington.”

Those charges were almost immediately rebutted by the Nelson campaign, which issued the following statement after the ad dropped:

“The only person with a ‘brand of corruption’ in the U.S. Senate race in Florida is Rick Scott. Not only has he done a poor job as governor, he’s greatly enriched himself while in office,” said Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for Nelson’s campaign. “If Mr. Scott wants to talk about a ‘brand of corruption,’ let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about his massive Medicare fraud scheme. Let’s talk about his seemingly well-timed and lucrative financial investments in state projects that he’s hidden from the public. Let’s talk about some of his political donors who are making small fortunes off state projects he’s approved. Let’s talk about a politician with a ‘brand of corruption.'”

Scott’s newest volley comes after Nelson released his own duo of attack ads. The first is a Spanish-language ad calling Scott an “amigo” to President Donald Trump while the second is an English-language ad slamming the two-term governor’s record on the environment.

“Tell me who you hang out with, and I will tell you who you are. Rick Scott and Donald Trump are pals,” a translation of the ad reads.

The Scott vs. Nelson head-to-head is one of the most-watched U.S. Senate battles in the nation as national Democrats are trying to prevent the Republican’s current 50-49 majority in the chamber from increasing — a tall order considering 23 of the 33 U.S. Senate seats up for grabs this year are held by Democrats, and 10 of those seats, Nelson’s included, are in states won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

As with the two prior elections in Scott’s political career, the Senate race is shaping up to be a close one. A recent survey from St. Pete Polls — the most accurate pollster in Florida’s primary elections — shows the two men deadlocked with 47 percent support apiece with the remainder undecided.

Earlier this week, Nelson and Scott agreed to face each other in an Oct. 2 debate that will be broadcast in the Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm media markets.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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