Ron DeSantis
Photo from DeSantis campaign

On the same day an Andrew Gillum surrogate called Florida a sh*thole for not backing higher taxes, Republican Ron DeSantis told supporters in Tampa, Gillum’s tax plan would devastate the state’s economy.

DeSantis speaking to nearly 200 supporters at the Italian Club in Tampa, said he wants to continue the momentum of the Governor Scott-led economic growth in Florida. Florida has a 12 year low employment rate and is the world’s 17th largest economy.

“His big idea is to raise taxes 40 percent,” DeSantis said speaking of Gillum. Talking to reporters after the event, DeSantis expanded his comments.

“My opponent is running on a 40 percent tax increase which I think would be devastating for jobs and our economic momentum. I will not do that. I’ll continue to have low-tax policies and recruit and maintain businesses. That means more jobs and higher paying jobs,” DeSantis said.

Gillum is pushing a $1 billion corporate tax increase to fund his spending programs. Gillum’s running mate Chris King and Gillum supporter Ken LaRoe, founder of First Greenbank, held a conference call Thursday to advocate for the tax increase saying it would be a sound investment for Florida. But then LaRoe went off script. “What is the dollars lost when every other business won’t come here because quite frankly Florida is a shithole,” LaRoe said. “It is a shithole in every measure whether it is caring for the elderly, care for the mentally ill, care for the developmentally disabled.”

Later in the call LaRoe apologized for the remarks and said he was referencing “20 years of Republican rule.”

But the damage was already done.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia fired back. “First, Andrew Gillum doesn’t immediately terminate a high-ranking staffer for calling voters ‘dumb f*****.’ Now, today on a conference call with reporters, we find out that one of his big supporters, a banker and Democrat “super voter,” called Florida a sh*thole” said Ingoglia. “Why is it that Andrew Gillum and his campaign have such disdain and contempt for the people of Florida? This is obviously not an isolated incident anymore. This is becoming a pattern and seems to be normal behavior no matter how much Gillum and King try to apologize for it.”

The Gillum campaign had no reaction to LaRoe’s description of Florida.

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.