The ad, dubbed Dear Governor, is paid for by the Florida Republican Party, which shared no details about the scope of its airing.
The 60-second spot was described by the DeSantis campaign as a television and digital ad, and features DeSantis leafing through letters, evidently from private citizens, praising him for keeping the state and schools mostly open through the pandemic.
“I’ve never written a political leader, but I’m writing to express my appreciation for keeping us Floridians free and thriving,” says a narrator reading a letter.
DeSantis is shown in what appears to be his Capitol office, reading letters, and then taking a folder with him as he enters a vehicle and continues to read on his way to an event.
DeSantis smiles when a narrator reading a letter says, “Watching you beat back the woke, liberal media makes me so proud to be a Floridian.”
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DeSantis, sitting on $128 million for his re-election campaign, should be able to dominate Florida airwaves if he chooses in running his second statewide campaign. Democrats Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried are vying for their party’s nomination in the Aug. 23 primary, and have each aired a single TV spot so far.
Fried’s TV ad went up Monday and focused on her potential role as Florida’s first woman governor, and her commitment to defending abortion rights, pursuing new gun limits and improving the economy.
Crist’s ad began airing in mid-July and looked past Fried, his primary opponent, and focused primarily on DeSantis. In his ad, Crist said DeSantis “cares more about running for the White House than your house.”
Crist also took a swipe at DeSantis’ TV appearance, calling it tone deaf in a state where more than 77,000 people have died of COVID-19.
“Florida is only free if you do what Ron tells you to do,” Crist said. “His latest ad is a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who lost a loved one or family member simply because he wouldn’t promote life-saving vaccines or wearing a mask.
John Kennedy is a reporter in the USA TODAY Network’s Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @JKennedyReport
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