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Philip Levine runs ads in D.C., Florida blasting GOP immigration ‘intolerance’

With new ads running in both Florida and the nation’s capital, Miami Beach Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is blasting House Speaker Richard Corcoran and President Donald Trump for their tough stances on immigration.

Starting this week, the 30-second spot, called “Intolerance,” is serving as a direct response to Corcoran’s “hateful and race-baiting ad” targeting sanctuary cities that continues to get airtime throughout the state, says Christian Ulvert, a special adviser to Levine’s campaign for governor.

In the ads, Levine also calls out Trump: “It’s bad enough that we hear this from a president who bullies for a living.”

The $250,000 ad buy will be broadcast in English and Spanish, airing in selected Florida media markets.

In addition, the Levine campaign is spending $20,000 to run the same ad on the Fox News and CNN affiliates in Washington D.C.

“We wanted those in D.C. who continue to stoke this kind of fear and message of hate to know that one of the largest states in our country and one of the most pivotal ones in this election cycle, is watching and the mayor wanted to deliver a direct message,” said Ulvert when asked how running the ads in D.C. helps Levine in Florida.

Levine has been the only Democratic candidate to begin airing television ads in this election cycle, and he has been doing so since last November in order to build up name recognition, and it appears to be working.

Mason-Dixon poll released last week showed Levine in trailing former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham by three percentage points in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor, 20%-17%.

On Monday, the University of North Florida released a survey showing that all major Democratic candidates are struggling with name recognition. However, Levine is doing slightly better than either Graham or Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum on that metric, though an overwhelming 73 percent of those surveyed say they haven’t heard of the Miami Beach Mayor (78 percent said they hadn’t heard of Graham; 81 percent said the same of Gillum).

In fundraising, Levine continues to lead all Democratic candidates with over $9 million raised to date.

Meanwhile, Corcoran’s provocative immigration ad is keeping him in the news cycle, as all of the Democratic candidates have criticized its tone and message.

Gillum is taking his beef with Corcoran on immigration public when the two debate in Tallahassee Tuesday night.

“Glad to have Mayor Levine finally speak up the way Mayor Gillum did three weeks ago on Speaker Corcoran’s TV ad,” Gillum spokesman Geoff Burgan said in response to Levine’s ad buy. “Floridians need a fighter like Mayor Gillum in the Governor’s Mansion, not someone who waits for polling to tell him when to take a stand.”

Although he has not announced a bid for Governor, Corcoran is widely expected to do so next month after the Legislative Session ends.

Watch the new Levine ad below:

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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