Fla. Senate race takes ugly turn when Rick Scott accuses Sen. Nelson of ‘slanderous’ attack on his wife

It’s safe to say that the gloves are off in the tight U.S. Senate race in Florida, with incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson drawing the ire of his opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, for suggesting his wife, Florida first lady Ann Scott, can’t manage her own finances.

Scott took to Twitter to blast Nelson for the “slanderous attacks,” coming from the party that claims to support women.

“.@SenBillNelson regarding your slanderous attacks on me & my wife- do you think my wife can’t manage her money without me? Do you think a woman can’t manage her own money? It’s disgusting you’d accuse us of breaking the law– you’re so desperate to remain a career politician.

At issue is an Associated Press report that some investments made by his wife mirror investments made through a blind trust the multimillionaire governor set up when he took office in 2011 to shield him from potential conflicts of interest charges while in office.

“The governor’s blind trust is managed by an independent financial professional who decides what assets are bought, sold or changed,” Gov. Scott’s spokeswoman, Lauren Schenone, told The Associated Press.

Schenone added that “the governor does not discuss the first lady’s investments with her or her financial advisers.”

But Nelson’s campaign seized on the dubious report to target Scott, who’s proving to be quite the formidable opponent.

Campaign spokesman Dan McLaughlin implied “that Rick Scott is in control of his wife’s trust and his trust, and all these investments raise serious questions about conflicts of interest and ethical transactions.”

In effect, McLaughlin is suggesting the sitting governor is breaking the law.

An allegation Scott is pushing back hard against.

“[I]t is disgusting and desperate that Bill Nelson would accuse Governor Scott and his wife of breaking the law with no evidence and that the Associated Press would print these slanderous attacks,” Schenone said.

In a statement, Scott turned the Democratic Party’s narrative on sexism on Nelson.

“My wife runs her own finances,” Scott said in the release. “That may be a hard thing for Senator Nelson to understand. Does Senator Nelson think that my wife couldn’t do that without me? Maybe he thinks a woman is not up to the job of managing her own money.”

“It is disgusting Senator Nelson would accuse me or my wife of breaking the law – he is so desperate to remain a career politician,” he concluded.

Here’s a sampling of reactions online in a race that’s getting “unusually personal, and biting.”

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