Almost 40 points behind in polling of a fast-closing Jacksonville mayoral race, Republican Anna Brosche was hoping her latest political ad would turn the tide.
Whether it does is another matter.
“Is Your Family Safer,” is the latest drop from Brosche’s state-level A New Day political committee. The spot makes a now familiar argument: that Jacksonville’s murder rate is unacceptable, with Mayor Lenny Curry to blame.
Over $136,000 backs this ad, a sign that the campaign is betting big here given its relatively limited resources.
However, the Curry operation, through legal counsel, contended that the ad uses fake facts to make “the materially false, malicious, and defamatory claim that there have been ‘109 murders this year alone’ as part of some imputed ‘Curry crime wave.'”
The demand to all television stations airing the spot: to cease-and-desist airing an ad with a factual error.
On behalf of the Brosche campaign, consultant Ryan Wiggins asserted that the cease and desist letter misses the point.
“It is laughable to argue the definition of “year” when hundreds of people have been murdered in Jacksonville during his administration as a result of the Curry crime wave,” Wiggins said.
The ad, we understand, is being recut to reflect murders throughout Curry’s entire tenure in office.
Curry, polling at 52 percent, needs to be under 50 in the March election, a unitary election open to all registered voters.
Otherwise, Brosche, polling at 15 percent, doesn’t get her one-on-one shot with that same voter pool against her fellow Republican in May.
The thirty-second buy reprises the gritty textures of Brosche’s first ad (one that ultimately didn’t see airwaves), using an urgent female voice-over to ask “is your family safer than it was four years ago.”
“Curry’s crime wave brought 109 murders … stop the Curry crime wave, stop Lenny Curry,” rang out the call to action.
The 109 murders are “more than Brooklyn,” the voice-over says, meaning the New York borough rather than the Jacksonville neighborhood of the same name.
It remains to be seen if this buy can turn the tide of the race.
Law enforcement, including the police union and the Sheriff, back Curry officially and have hammered Brosche over what they see as a newfound election-eve interest in public safety.
Voters have been a tough sell thus far, a bad sign with early voting beginning Mar. 4.
The latest poll from the University of North Florida reveals that for the 62 percent of voters preoccupied with crime, most back Curry.
Brosche had roughly $100,000 in hard money at last check, and whatever remains in her statewide political committee (which had raised $374,000 by the end of January, but which has also been spending on television and mail).
In recent weeks, Curry has significantly benefited from using the buying power of the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has given the incumbent a disproportionate edge on television saturation.
While Brosche’s “New Day” political committee will have spent nearly $265,000 on television by the end of February (including $136,095 on the latest spot), the FRSCC will have invoiced $646,660 by Feb. 25 on Curry’s behalf.
The ingredients are there for undecided voters to break for a known commodity over an intraparty challenger who Curry defined for large swathes of voters before she even established an ad buy.