Scott Press Call Cut Short After Questions On Fundraiser’s Exit Over Racist Jokes

March 24, 2014 12:43 p.m.

A press conference call for Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) re-election campaign was cut short after reporters asked multiple questions about the departure of billionaire Mike Fernandez as finance co-chairman for the campaign.

The conference call on Monday featuring Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) was ended abruptly after reporters asked questions about Fernandez’s decision to leave the campaign following campaign staffers reportedly making jokes in crude Mexican accents.

According to The Orlando Sentinel, Lopez-Cantera first answered one question about a new campaign ad attacking former Gov. Charlie Crist (D), the likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee, then three on Fernandez’s decision to leave the campaign. On the third question Lopez-Cantera said the call was about the new ad, not Fernandez.

Then the call was cut off.

“I think that’s all the time we have for today,” Florida Republican Party Communications Director Susan Hepworth said while ending the press call. The call lasted 17 minutes, according to the Sentinel.

Last week the Miami Herald reported Fernandez, the billionaire chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners, had decided to leave the campaign. He had reportedly been dissatisfied with the direction of campaign starting about a month ago when he emailed top Scott supporters complaining about two campaign aides making jokes in Mexican accents on the way to a Mexican restaurant. Fernandez was born in Cuban.

TPM reached out to the Scott campaign for comment.

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