Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, trying to paint Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson as an inside-the-Beltway layabout, released a new TV ad — using figures the Nelson camp disputes — that accuses the three-term Democrat of excessive absenteeism on Capitol Hill.
Scott’s ad, titled “Empty Chair,” shows an empty seat at a committee dais with Nelson’s name plate in front of it.
Floridians of a certain age may remember then-Republican Charlie Crist using an empty chair in TV ads during the 2006 governor’s race to accuse Democrat Jim Davis of missing too many votes as a member of Congress.
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Scott’s new ad says Nelson “skipped 45 percent of the hearings on national security.” The Scott campaign said that’s a reference to Armed Services Committee hearings and provided figures that list Nelson as attending 352 of 636 of the committee’s hearings since 2001.
Nelson spokesman Ryan Brown called the ad “nothing more than another false attack by Rick Scott who is nothing more than a phony politician.”
Brown said Nelson “attended about 80 percent of the Armed Services meetings this year and 86 percent last year.” Scott’s camp says Nelson attended 76 percent of the committee’s hearings during 2017-18.