The Congressional Leadership Fund has increased its spending in a hotly contested Florida congressional race.
The GOP House leadership-backed super PAC increased spending to $2.6 million in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The boost — up from a planned $2.1 million — will allow the committee to stay on the airwaves in the Treasure Coast congressional district until Election Day.
The super PAC has thrown its support behind Republican Brian Mast, releasing its first ad last month. The 60-second video attacks Randy Perkins, saying the Treasure Coast Democrat “is not fit for Congress.”
That spot featured video from a recent candidate forum with the Treasure Coast Palm editorial board. In the video, Perkins is shown asking why his military service makes him qualified to run for office. The video later shows Perkins saying Mast isn’t “man enough to stand behind your own ads.”
Mast, a combat veteran, is a double amputee.
The committee is slated to launch its second advertisement Thursday, which a spokeswoman for the organization said builds on the organization’s first video. It is also meant to highlight his business record.
The new 30-second spot — called “Randy Perkins: His idea of service is serving himself” — includes claims Perkins overcharged the Broward County School District for Hurricane Wilma repair work. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, district auditors in June 2009 claimed Perkins’ debris removal company “grossly overcharged” the school system for work.
“Randy Perkins doesn’t understand service because he’s built his life on self-promotion at the expense of others,” said Ruth Guerra, spokeswoman for CLF, in a statement. “Apparently profiting off Floridians’ misfortunes isn’t enough sleaze for Randy Perkins, so he chooses to taunt a veteran who embodies sacrifice for our country. Florida families deserve better than self-serving Randy Perkins.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee, a super PAC aimed at electing Republicans to Congress, in September began running ads attacking Perkins’ company. The Treasure Coast Palm Newspapers reported last month that six TV stations agreed to stop airing the ads, complying with a request from Perkins’ attorney to pull the ads or face a lawsuit.
The race between Perkins and Mast is shaping up to be one of the most-watched in the state. Both men are vying to replace Rep. Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House, and the race is one of just a few competitive congressional races in Florida.
The new Congressional Leadership Fund ad will air on broadcast and cable beginning Thursday.