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Health Exec Quits Scott Campaign

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Health-care billionaire Mike Fernandez, who had been finance co-chairman of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign, abruptly quit Thursday night, The Miami Herald reported Friday.

Fernandez, who was named to the post in late January, had been locking horns with others on the campaign team, the Herald said, but did not name them. Fernandez's official statement said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The members of Scott's re-election campaign include: Melissa Sellers, campaign manager; State Sen. John Thrasher, chairman; Darlene Jordan as finance co-chair; Tim Saler as deputy campaign manager and Matt Moon as communications director.

Chairman of the private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners in Coral Gables, Fernandez remains loyal to Scott and is confident of victory, he said in a letter released to the press.

While Fernandez' friction with campaign workers appears to have been the primary difficulty, Scott and Fernandez had taken heat for what Democrats characterized as a conflict of interest.  According to a Florida Times-Union report summarized in Health News Florida, Fernandez and companies he controls made more than $1.5 million in contributions to Scott's "Let's Get to Work Committee," near the time that the Agency for Health Care Administration was awarding Medicaid contracts worth more than $1 billion to companies in which Fernandez owns a sizeable share.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.