Text messages and websites: The week in Florida politics

Florida’s 2018 midterm election is one of the most important in years. The governor’s office and all three Cabinet seats are on the ballot; Republican Gov. Rick Scott is challenging three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson; several congressional seats will be competitive; and Floridians will vote on several proposed constitutional amendments. The following are items of political interest from the past week:


The campaign of Republican Ron DeSantis is going after Democrat Andrew Gillum over comments made by his running mate nearly two decades ago.

Some voters this week got text messages that noted inflammatory comments made by lieutenant governor nominee Chris King back in 1999. King, who narrowly lost a student election at Harvard University at the time, blamed the school’s newspaper for his loss. He said at the time that he was “nailed to the cross” and that “most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”

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The text messages said that the comments “raise serious concerns about Gillum’s ever-mounting ties to blatant anti-Semitism.”

King, who is a liberal Christian, previously apologized for the comments when they surfaced ahead of the August primary for governor. King came in fifth in the election won by Gillum.

The Gillum campaign sharply criticized the text messages as a “smear tactic” by the DeSantis campaign.

“Ron DeSantis is running one of the most divisive and toxic campaigns in Florida history,” said Johanna Cervone, a spokeswoman for Gillum. “These type of abusive tactics are straight out of the Trump playbook and will not go unanswered.”

DeSantis, during a campaign stop Friday in Doral, defended reminding voters of King’s comments.

“I think the comments are what they are, right?” DeSantis said.

The text messages sent out by the campaign came a few days after DeSantis faulted Gillum for his support of groups such as The Dream Defenders and…

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