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Joe Henderson: Richard Corcoran TV ad is indecent

Man, that Richard Corcoran TV ad sure is scary.

It shows a sinister-looking Latino man, wearing a hoodie (because all bad people wear hoodies), passing a happy, smiling woman on the street in broad daylight.

He pulls a gun for no reason and fires. The terrified woman is killed, and the message is clear: We need to pass tougher gun control laws to prevent horrific acts like this in the future.

Well done sir. It really makes you think. We have to get a handle on this.

Oh, wait … that wasn’t it?

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Of course not.

Corcoran’s ad, released by his Watchdog PAC, is a dog whistle to those inclined to be suspicious at best of anyone who doesn’t look like them. To drive home that point, the PAC is spending $95,000 to have the ad air on Fox News.

The ad, titled Preventable, focuses on the shooting death of Kate Steinle of San Francisco.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant who had been deported to Mexico five times, was arrested for the shooting. A jury acquitted him of murder, buying the defense argument that he found the gun and it went off by accident.

He was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and now faces federal charges in connection with the crime.

No one will argue against the idea that Zarate should not have been in this country. Corcoran, though, is using this as a rallying cry against Florida cities – including Tampa – that don’t crack down on illegal immigration.

It’s a legitimate issue, but this ad isn’t just politics as usual. It’s indecent. In tying that to the San Francisco case, Corcoran – who is pondering a run later this year for governor – makes it sound like every undocumented immigrant is running around with a handgun waiting to blow an innocent, law-abiding citizen away.

A statement released by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum denounced the ad.

Speaker Corcoran’s race-baiting ad is everything that’s wrong with politics today,” it read. “In the age of Trump, Corcoran is vilifying immigrants.”

Following to its logical conclusion, of course, is the underlying principle of sanctuary opponents – round ‘em up, ship ‘em out.

Corcoran already made sanctuary cities a central theme for his last term as Speaker, including pushing HB9 – a bill that would come down hard on local officials who don’t cooperate with immigration crackdowns.

The ACLU has attacked that as racist. Corcoran fired back.

So it goes.

I don’t doubt Corcoran sincerely believes cities that defy immigration laws, even if it means tearing families apart who have been in this country for decades, are wrong.

That’s a legitimate position to hold.

But ads like the one he just lent his name to?

Implying that every undocumented immigrant is a threat to murder you or a loved one?

Disgusting.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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