Ad slams Mary Thomas for connections to Charlie Crist

thomas, mary

With two weeks before the primary election, the proxy war is in full swing in the strongly conservative-leaning 2nd Congressional District.

Right Way Super PAC is out with a new advertisement blasting Mary Thomas’ connections to former Gov. Charlie Crist.

She was a state government lawyer under Crist and now works in the Rick Scott administration.

Why use Crist as bad guy? Because in a Florida GOP primary, one’s past relationship with Charlie matters.

Slinging mud by showing fealty to the former governor (and former Republican) helps drive up the other side’s negatives.

In a Republican primary, the challenge is “to show you’re more conservative than the other” person, says Darryl Paulson, a retired professor of government at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Crist is a convenient boogeyman because the accusation by association is that one’s opponent is “not a real Republican,” he adds.

“It’s a potent message, especially to conservative activists” who will go to the polls for a primary contest, Paulson says.

The latest ad is a counterpunch to one that slammed Thomas’ rival, Panama City surgeon Neal Dunn, as a “Charlie Crist Republican.”

That ad was by Club for Growth Action, the super PAC affiliated with Club for Growth, an economic conservative group. Club for Growth PAC, another separate entity, endorsed Thomas.

Here’s the script for the latest ad, now running on broadcast and cable in the Panama City market, with wider play expected today:

“Conservatives can’t trust career bureaucrats like Mary Thomas.

“When Charlie Crist pushed his radical climate change agenda, it was Thomas that filed lawsuits against Florida cities.

“Even after Crist left the Republican Party, Thomas kept collecting her government paycheck as a senior member of his administration.

“Now that she’s running for Congress, Thomas is hiding her job for Crist. That’s why Mary Thomas can’t be trusted in Washington.”

As always, remember super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions, and individuals and can spend without restriction to advocate for or against candidates or causes.

They are not, however, permitted to give money to or coordinate directly with parties or their candidates.

Thomas faces Dunn and Ken Sukhia, a former federal prosecutor, in the Aug. 30 primary.

Thomas faces Ken Sukhia and Neal Dunn in the Aug. 30 primary.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Concerned 2d District Republican

    August 17, 2016 at 10:37 am

    It wouldn’t be so bad if Mary just had kept collecting her paycheck. The real issue is one of a lack of qualifications to be hired by the voters and her record of non-achievement. She completed a job application and got a gov’t job to advance an agenda that she says she now opposes. She quit that job to get into the spotlight as a candidate for Congress. One can only surmise that this is just another stepping stone for someone motivated only by self-advancement. Some outsider. Some intellectual honesty. Votes are earned by people with lifetimes of achievements and living lives of what they believe, like Ken Sukhia.

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