In modern politics today, it’s not only de rigueur for candidates to have websites touting their biography and accomplishments, but now they’re creating separate websites that attack their opponents.
We’ve already seen that happening in the Florida governor’s race, and now the two men running to be Florida’s Chief Financial Officer – Republican incumbent Jimmy Patronis and his Democratic challenger, Jeremy Ring – announced earlier this week the creation of websites which bash their respective opponents.
Patronis got into the act first this week, launching RingsCriminalRing.com, a site that details the donations that Ring has received from what the Patronis campaign alleges are “criminal and scandalous donor friends.”
“Florida Can’t Trust Jeremy Ring,” states the website, which has a dark and somewhat creepy design accentuated by splashes of red.
Patronis’s Ring’s Criminal Ring website also provides an opportunity to remind voters about a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation concluding that an opposition researcher who had been paid by the Florida Democratic Party had sought driver license information about Patronis and other candidates.
That researcher was being paid by the Ring campaign. Ultimately, the attorney general’s office declined to pursue charges against him.
Patronis had wrecked a state-owned car while on personal business last October, according to news reports. No one was injured in the crash, and Patronis ended up paying a fine to the Tallahassee Police Department. The Ring campaign later aired an ad referring to the accident.
Ringscriminalring.com also lists several financial contributors to Ring’s CFO campaign who allegedly have had issues with the law.
“Senator Jeremy Ring is risky and reckless,” said Patronis for CFO communications director Katie Strickland, in a press release. “His connections to criminal and scandalous donors yet again reveals his stunning lack of judgement. Florida can’t risk its finances on reckless Jeremy Ring.”
Not to be outdone, the Ring campaign announced Friday the launch of JimmyPatronis.info, a website that described Patronis as “Chief Fraud Officer.”
The site is similar in that it highlights what the website calls “criminal contributors” to Patronis’s campaign, and shows a photo of jail cells.
The site also alleges Patronis has raised more than $1.3 million from the insurance industry, a business that the CFO is authorized to regulate.
“In just over one year, Jimmy Patronis has re-defined CFO- and not in a good way,” said Anthony Pardel, Ring’s campaign manager. “From his ethics investigation to his coziness to big insurance, Jimmy Patronis has unfortunately become Florida’s Chief Fraud Officer.”
Both Patronis and Ring are former state legislators.
Patronis represented Panama City in the Florida House from 2006-2014. He was then selected by Governor Rick Scott to replace Jeff Atwater as CFO back in July of 2017, giving him the advantage of a year’s incumbency going into this election cycle.
Ring represented Broward County in the Florida state Senate from 2006-2016.
Patronis is dominating the contest when it comes to fundraising. Between his own campaign account and his political committee, the GOP incumbent has raised more than $5 million to date. Ring has raised approximately $1.4 million.
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