Politico

Scott opens wallet for Trump in Florida


MIAMI — Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott is rallying behind President Donald Trump in signature fashion: with a big TV ad buy.

Scott’s political committee announced Wednesday he was making a “significant six-figure buy” boosting Trump and attacking Democrats on the airwaves in the president’s must-win state, where the Republicans have been outgunned in spending in recent months.

Scott’s direct-to-camera ad isn’t only about advancing the president’s interests. It also raises the first-term senator’s profile as he seeks to become the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Scott — who has an eye on a potential presidential bid in 2024 and his own reelection that year — has run two other ads during this presidential cycle, one attacking Joe Biden that aired in Iowa and another attacking Sen. Bernie Sanders that aired in Miami.

“Democrats have a radical plan for America. Joe Biden may not even be aware of it, but Kamala Harris is,” Scott says in the new Florida ad, subtly raising the Republican criticism that Biden is a clueless “Trojan horse” for the left.

Scott then goes on to mention “Medicare for all,” a position that Biden doesn’t support but Harris did at one point. Scott has been attacking socialized medicine on TV ads since 2009, when he founded a political committee called “Conservatives for Patients’ Rights,” which became the nucleus of his successful 2010 run for governor. Scott was reelected in 2014 and then won his Senate seat in 2018.

Throughout, Scott spent historic sums of his own money — about $150 million — most of it on TV ads that blanked Florida’s 10 media markets. He also spent at least $1 million more on TV ads while serving as governor to influence lawmakers to adopt his agenda at times.

This latest ad buy won’t be nearly as big. It will likely air in about six or eight markets, a Scott adviser said, depending on the available volume and ad rates, which have skyrocketed in Florida. Both sides have spent and reserved more than $282 million in TV ad time from June 1 through Election Day, according to the media-tracking firm Advertising Analytics.

In addition to lashing Biden, Scott’s ad singles out Democrats for hoping to “pack” the Supreme Court “so they can chip away at a religious freedom, chip away gun rights.”

Biden has said he’s “not a fan” of adding more Supreme Court seats but won’t rule it out. He has called for an assault weapons ban but previously denied claims he was against religious liberty. Similarly, Biden has opposed the “defund the police” movement and socialism, which Scott also mentions in the ad.

With both Trump and Biden coming Thursday to Florida, state political insiders are already speculating about the dynamics of the 2022 election cycle. That year, two of the president’s allies, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, are up for reelection.

“The conventional wisdom is Scott, Rubio and DeSantis are eyeing 2024, and the reality is two of those have reelections in 2022 and elections create opportunities and risk,” said Jamie Miller, former executive director of the Republican Party of Florida. “So Rick Scott not having an election takes him out of the limelight, but this puts him back in at a critical time, when people are paying attention — including the president.”

Continue

About the author

Lisa

Leave a Comment