Washington (CNN) –- Two conservative candidates, a former presidential candidate and photos of bare-chested gay men have now been lumped together in Florida’s Republican primary for governor.
State Attorney General Bill McCollum is locked in an increasingly bitter battle for the GOP nomination against health care executive Rick Scott. McCollum, backed by many in the Republican establishment, has previously run for several statewide offices, including a failed 2004 Senate bid. Scott bills himself as a “conservative outsider.”
Campaigns for both are trading barbs on issues of concern to the Republican primary audience: government bailouts, the economy and illegal immigration.
But the issues of gay rights – and gay dating – have figured their way into the race.
On Thursday, McCollum’s campaign reacted to a memo released by the Scott campaign the day before.
The memo listed what it claimed were “Top 7 “Reasons Conservatives and Republicans aren’t supporting Bill McCollum.” Among them, the memo stated: “McCollum endorsed pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights candidate Rudy Giuliani for president in 2008 and was a Giuliani campaign leader in Florida.”
The memo was released on the same day that prominent Florida conservative John Stemberger – who opposes abortion rights - endorsed McCollum.
Jennifer Baker, spokeswoman for Scott’s campaign, told CNN it was merely a coincidence that the McCollum endorsement and the Scott campaign’s e-mail calling Giuliani “pro-homosexual rights,” coincided.
Now McCollum’s campaign is pointing out that Scott is an investor in a social networking site that, among other things, features the profiles of gay men.
QuePasa.com bills itself as “one of the world’s largest trilingual Latino Social Networks online” serving users in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America. It features content on entertainment, sports and music.
But as McCollum’s campaign ties Scott to the site, it points out that gays also use the site for dating.
Kristy Campbell, communications director for McCollum, acknowledged to CNN the campaign is pointing out Scott’s ties to QuePasa.com. But Campbell said it was in response to the e-mail from Scott’s campaign.
“The hypocrisy and bizarre desperate attacks against Attorney General McCollum by Rick Scott in this campaign know no bounds,” Campbell told CNN.
Scott’s campaign said it was simply stating facts.
“I don’t know why this is upsetting to Bill McCollum,” Scott spokeswoman Baker said.
As for Scott’s ties to the Latino social network, Baker said the candidate is an investor in several Hispanic businesses including QuePasa.com, which she called the “Spanish Facebook.”
”There’s a lot of desperation from the McCollum campaign,” Baker said, blowing off questions about its e-mail.
Maureen Mitchell, spokeswoman for Giuliani, said in a statement to CNN, "Rudy Giuliani feels that Bill McCollum has served the people of Florida very well over the years and will continue to do so as their Governor. Money and baseless rhetoric can't erode the solid record Bill has accomplished over the years."
Just when one thinks that Republicans have sunk as low as they can possibly get, they sink even lower. Is anyone in that party an adult or are they just all a bunch of juvinile idiots?
And we want to vote for republicans because ? Once again, the republicans are the party of do nothing, say nothing intelligent – but show how whacko you are. Gawd, I can't believe I used to be a registered republican. Glad I wised up a little.
Liberal or Conservative or somewhere in bewtween... Do NOT let the media and politicians make the elections about anything other than the ECONOMY.
The borders are high on the list, but nothing else matters except the economy.
It's nice to know that we're so despised among Republicans that any link to anything gay, regardless of how remote, is seen as a way to gain favor with Republican primary voters. Instead of this being an article about the ridiculous back-and-forth accusations between these two immature candidates, it should be about how shameful it is for these aspiring elected officials (God forbid) to use human beings as political footballs. How can any self-respecting human being vote for either of these candidates? I know I wouldn't ever vote for a racist or sexist candidate, even if I agreed with him on every other issue.
No mention of the Democrats running. And the right-wingers still think CNN leans liberal. Idiots!
The economy is still struggling, a gigantic oil spill stains our shores, the state government is in need of serious leadership to determine budget priorities, and the prominent issues for who could be the next governor of Florida are...a defeated NY politician and who is/isn't allowed on a dating website...? So much for SENSIBLE government.
Yes, I'm sure with the continued economic turmoil the most important issue for republicans should still be the opposition of gay right, despite the fact that there isn't even a legislation on the table right now dealing with the issue!
Scott must think it's ok to deny rights to gays while making money off of them.
I love it, like a couple of two year olds ~ you're gay, no you're gay, no you are. Guess what guys, since you're making such a big deal about this, you are both probably gay.