Philip Levine pushing ‘Denial’ ad during State of the Union

Philip Levine

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is seeing Tuesday’s State of the Union speech as an opportunity to push his climate change and off-shore drilling messages.

The former Miami Beach mayor’s gubernatorial campaign announced it will be spending $70,000 to air his “Denial” TV commercial during President Donald Trump‘s speech Tuesday night. That’s in addition to the $375,000 All About Florida already has spent airing the commercial statewide this month.

In the 30-second spot, Levine seeks to lump Trump, Gov. Rick Scott, the oil industry, climate change denial, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil disaster all into one issue. It begins with scenes of the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil spill off the coast of Louisiana which brought oil onto Florida Panhandle beaches, and dragged down Florida’s entire tourism economy for a year. It ends with Levine walking on a beach declaring, “Now we have a governor who denies climate change, a president who denies everything, and a Congress who may start drilling.”

The commercial began airing shortly after Scott met with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and returned with the now-disputed promise that the Trump administration would not seek off-shore oil drilling exploration off the Florida coast.

Levine, who faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park businessman Chris King in the battle for the Democratic primary nomination, is the only gubernatorial candidate to air TV commercials so far, totaling four. However, he won’t be the only Democratic candidate for office advertising during the State of the Union Address: Florida’s 27th Congressional District Democrat candidate Mary Barzee Flores has purchased time for her commercial “Impeach,” during the address, in the Miami market.

Christian Ulvert, senior advisor with Philip Levine for Governor said in a press release,  “With President Trump’s administration signaling that they still have Florida in their sights for oil drilling off our coast, the campaign today placed an additional buy to air our latest TV ad where Mayor Philip Levine promises to take on anyone who threatens our coastlines with drilling. The ad will air during prime time around the President’s State of the Union address to ensure Floridians know that our environment and coastline is not for sale.”

The leading Republican candidates are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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