LAKE BUENA VISTA (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida Democrats called Gov. Rick Scott an embarrassment, an extremist and someone who has brought “darkness and despair” during a state party conference dinner in Lake Buena Vista.

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the 650 Democrats at the dinner Saturday evening that Scott was the worst governor in Florida history. She then paused and said he was the worst governor in the nation’s history.

“I trust Rick Scott to lead this state as much as I trust Ted Cruz to read bedtime stories to my daughter,” said Wasserman Schultz, referring to the Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” during a filibuster earlier this month.

With only one-little known candidate now in the race for governor, the main event at Democrats weekend-long conference was more of a rally against Scott than it was a rally for their own candidates.

Wasserman Schultz criticized Scott, saying he was a tea party governor who serves the far right.

“Rick Scott either doesn’t get it, or he just doesn’t care, but it’s probably both,” she said, a line she later repeated in the speech.

Former state Sen. Nan Rich, the only credible Democrat in the race to face Scott, said the governor, who spent $73 million of his own money to win office, is trying to buy his re-election through unlimited donations from corporations and special interest groups. Scott has announced a goal of raising $100 million for his campaign.

“Florida is not for sale,” said Rich. “I don’t think even $100 million worth of whitewash is enough to cover the stain of Rick Scott’s failed and dysfunctional administration.”

Sen. Bill Nelson also jumped on Scott, saying he has embarrassed Florida on the national stage.

Scott is “a governor who has brought darkness and despair to a lot of people in our state,” Nelson said.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry and party staff were at the same hotel as the conference. Before the speeches, Curry said Democrats are delivering a message of hate with no ideas of their own. He said Scott has worked to improve the state’s economy.

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now a Democrat, was also at the conference but did not speak. He said he will announce Nov. 4 whether he will run for governor with his new party. He’s widely expected to get in the race and has already set up a website and recorded video criticizing the current administration.


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