Florida Dem Alex Sink fires staffer after gubernatorial debate 'cheating' snafu

Florida Democrat Alex Sink fired a campaign staffer who helped her "cheat" Monday night during a debate against Republican Rick Scott.

During a commercial break at the CNN/St. Petersburg Times gubernatorial debate, Sink’s make-up artist showed her a two-sentence message on a cell phone — a violation of the rules.

Scott, who was sitting next to Sink, noticed the exchange and informed a CNN staffer who confiscated the phone. The message read: "The attorney who [w]on the Sykes suit said alex sink did nothing wrong. Tell not to let him keep talking about her."

After the event, Sink released a statement announcing that her staffer, Brian May, who sent the message had been "removed" from the campaign.

"After the debate tonight, one of my campaign advisors admitted he tried to communicate with me during one of the breaks," Sink said in a statement. "While he told me it was out of anger with Rick Scott's repeated distortion of facts, it was a foolish thing to do. It violated a debate agreement and I immediately removed him from the campaign."

The Republican Governors Association called it an "an international embarrassment."

Polls show Sink slightly ahead in the Florida governor's race, but the campaign remains fluid going into Nov. 2.