With state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, releasing an audit Tuesday of the almost $50 million First District Court of Appeal building in Tallahassee, former Rep. Loranne Ausley, the Democratic CFO nominee, used the opportunity to attack Republican opponent Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach.
"I'm appalled at the audacity of corruption in Tallahassee, the consistency of corruption in Tallahassee, and I'm appalled that politicians like Jeff Atwater enable a culture of corruption in Tallahassee," said Ausley at a media event in front of the building still under construction. "Senate President Jeff Atwater has not laid out a single accountable reform package during this campaign because he's part of the system, part of the problem, and part of the culture of corruption in Tallahassee."
Its important to remember the last time we saw something like this was Ray Sansom, added Ausley, trying to link Senate President Atwater to the disgraced former House speaker.
The Ausley campaign launched its first television ad -- attacking Atwater for his time in Tallahassee and backing the courthouse, which critics have labeled the Tallahassee Taj Mahal.
Atwaters team responded to the commercial with a counterattack on Ausley.
Loranne Ausley's television commercial is no surprise, it's just like the rest of her campaign, said Brian Hughes, a spokesman for Atwater. It's filled with mud, distortions and nonsense. An example is that the same day Alex Sink admits that the courthouse project was a failure of bureaucrats at Department of Management Services (DMS) and Sink's own auditors, Ausley continues to mislead voters and ignore the facts on this issue.
Hughes pointed to five newspapers that endorsed his candidate over Ausley: the St. Petersburg Times, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Naples Daily News.
Sadly for Ausley, the smear tactics simply reinforce why editorial boards across Florida chose today to voice their endorsements and support, said Hughes. Like small-business owners and community leaders across the state, these newspapers all cite Jeff's positive vision and financial expertise as exactly what Florida needs to get the economy back on track.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.