Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s campaign sent out a press release early Wednesday morning conceding the Republican primary for governor to former health care executive Rick Scott. McCollum withheld a concession last night when he addressed supporters just before 11 p.m.
The press release did not mention Rick Scott by name, instead calling him a “multi-millionaire with a questionable past.” Here it is:
The votes today have been tallied and I accept the voters’ decision.
This race was one for the ages. No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multi-millionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida.
While I was disappointed with the negative tone of the race, I couldn’t be more proud of our campaign and our supporters for fighting back against false and misleading advertising when we were down by double-digits.
“Conciliatory” is not the word that comes to mind here. Scott’s own relations with the Republican Party of Florida are tenuous at best; on Sunday, interim party chair John Thrasher sent out an email to Florida Republicans alleging Scott of leading “a multifaceted campaign of misinformation in an effort to mislead Florida voters and confuse the facts surrounding the arrest and indictment of Jim Greer as well as the Party’s financial situation and preparedness to support our candidates as we move towards the November election.” Thrasher told The Florida Independent Tuesday night that he would support either candidate.
McCollum said Monday that he did not know whether he would endorse Rick Scott. He gave a vague answer at a campaign stop in Orlando on Monday, as he seemed to be expecting to win:
“I don’t know Rick Scott well,” McCollum told reporters at an Orlando campaign stop. “I met him for the first time at the Univision debate. I’ve never eyed him across the table except at the debate. He ducked a big statewide debate.”
“So when the election is over with, I expect to win,” he said. “The question should be asked of him: Will he endorse me? Of course, if it were to come out the other way for some reason I would have to sit down with him and be persuaded. I see lots of problems with him, personally, right now. It would be very difficult for me.”
McCollum’s press release goes onto thank his supporters, which he did do Tuesday as well:
First, I want to thank my wife, Ingrid, and our entire family. I could not have made it this far without Ingrid’s unwavering love and support. I also want to thank the many Republican leaders who stood by our campaign and helped build our organization, especially Governor Jeb Bush, Commissioner Charlie Bronson, House Speaker Larry Cretul, Senate President Designate Mike Haridopolos, House Speaker Designate Dean Cannon and House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.
Most importantly, I thank the hundreds of volunteers who put in time and hard work to get our message out. I am humbled and overwhelmed by their passion for our campaign and depth of their support.
As I’ve said time and time again, this race was never about me, it’s about Floridians. My campaign was about our kids and grandkids, and making Florida a better place for them.
My campaign for Governor may be over, but I remain committed to serving our state and serving out the rest of my term as Florida’s Attorney General. We will continue our fight against Obamacare, continue to support states’ rights and their authority to crack down on illegal immigration and fight for all Floridians.
I love Florida, and I believe in the extraordinary people who have made it the greatest state in the country. There is nothing beyond our reach when we put trust in individuals and in free enterprise, not in government or bureaucracy. I will always remain committed to fighting for these core conservative principles.