Attorney General Bill McCollum has to soundly defeat his upstart challenger, millionaire Rick Scott, in the two debates to be held this week, if McCollum is to have any chance of winning the Republican party’s nomination for Florida governor.
Scott’s inexperience has shown more and more once he steps away from scripted public appearances. His staff has repeatedly had to go behind him and explain their boss’s comments. Most of Florida has gotten know to Scott exclusively from his television and radio ads. Those ads have vaulted him ahead of McCollum, according to the polls.
The debates will force Scott to explain his message in a more unpredictable setting. He will most assuredly have to discuss his time at Columbia/HCA and the millions of his own money he is spending on his campaign.
McCollum must go on the offensive, expose Scott’s lack of experience and get Scott off his scripted answers. The problem is the Florida Attorney General isn’t a ball of fire on the campaign stump. Scott’s camp has been successful in making McCollum look like part of the status quo, not a “true Conservative.”—which is a bizarre claim since McCollum has always been seen as one of the most conservative Republicans in whatever race he is in.
The first debate will be held today in Miami and is the first time there has been a Spanish language debate in the GOP primary for governor. Questions will be asked in Spanish and then translated for Scott and McCollum to answer.
The second debate will be Thursday in Tampa and will be carried on Fox stations in Central Florida.
No other head-to-head debates are scheduled for Scott and McCollum. Last week two poll released have Scott in double digits over McCollum. If Scott does poorly this week in the debates, but he is able to maintain a lead in the polls, don’t expect him to debate McCollum any more or open himself to many interviews with the media.