POLITICS
10/17/2014 02:24 pm ET Updated Oct 17, 2014

Florida Democrats Are Really Pushing 'Fan-gate'

Lest we forget the infamous "Fan-gate" incident of 2014, Florida Democrats are parlaying Gov. Rick Scott's (R) initial refusal to debate former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) Wednesday night because of the presence of Crist's beloved electric fan into television ads and merchandise.

Scott held up the debate for nearly eight minutes because Crist had a fan stashed under his lectern, claiming that it violated the debate's "no electronics" rule. Crist's campaign countered by saying they had signed a debate agreement with a fan exemption penned-in.

The governor's campaign is rebuffing the post-debate mockery, saying that they had not been notified that Crist was already onstage, while Scott said after the debate that he was waiting because Crist was "throwing a fit."

The Florida Democratic Party released a new television ad Friday, titled "Absent," in the hopes of capitalizing on the incident and tying it to Scott's record as governor.

"No wonder Rick Scott doesn't want to debate Charlie Crist," Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said in a statement Friday accompanying the ad's release. "He cut education by $1.3 billion, raised property taxes, and let utilities hike rates on middle class families. Rick Scott’s absurd refusal to debate -- and his lies yesterday denying he refused -- are just a smokescreen for his record as governor and CEO that he is desperate to hide. With this new ad, we are ensuring Floridians know just what Rick Scott is afraid of."

The ad, of course, ends with a pun: "Next debate airs Tuesday. It's going to be cool."

Crist's campaign is also offering to send donors a hand-held fan if they chip in at least $5.

Crist, who served as the Republican governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, ran as an independent in the 2010 Senate race and then became a Democrat in 2012. HuffPost Pollster, which tracks and combines all publicly available polling data, shows the two candidates in a virtual dead heat, with Crist ahead of Scott by just 1 percentage point.

What's happening in your district? The Huffington Post wants to know about all the campaign ads, mailers, robocalls, candidate appearances and other interesting campaign news happening by you. Email any tips, videos, audio files or photos to openreporting@huffingtonpost.com.

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