The ad in support of Republican candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis was paid for by the state GOP and was aired locally as both Gillum—the mayor of Tallahassee—and Republican Gov. Rick Scott were busy dealing with the storm’s effects on the Panhandle region.
“It is abundantly clear that Congressman DeSantis is a liar who has no respect for Floridians and no positive vision for our state,” said the Gillum campaign’s communications director Johanna Cervone. “His latest attack ad is indicative of a candidate with no moral compass who has resorted to desperate and dirty lies in order to score political points during a natural disaster.”
In the letter, legal counsel for the campaign charged that the political ad, which claims that “Gillum is running for governor and also from the FBI,” is false as they have repeatedly stated he is not the subject of a federal investigation into Tallahassee City Hall.
“Even the most cursory review of the purported source material cited in the advertisement demonstrates that the statements were made with actual knowledge of, or with reckless disregard as to, their falsity,” the letter read. “The advertisement is emblematic of the corrosive and divisive rhetoric tearing our society apart. And the fact that it is being run in the midst of a devastating hurricane is reprehensible.”
Politico reported on Wednesday that the Florida GOP aired two ads bashing Gillum but said later that they would take the ads down.
At the same time, according to the report, a super PAC backing incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a Republican one backing Scott in the state’s U.S. Senate race also had negative ads up. The key distinction is that candidates effectively have no say in what their supportive PACs do while the party apparatus in Florida works directly with the DeSantis campaign.