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Nelson AFP-Action ad

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Americans for Prosperity Action spending $1M-plus on anti-Bill Nelson ads

Americans for Prosperity-Action (AFP-Action) said Friday that it’s anteing up “seven-figures” for digital and direct mail campaigns urging voters to send Bill Nelson packing after three terms in the U.S. Senate.

The new AFP-FL digital ad, titled “Bill Nelson Has Had 30 Years,” hits the longtime Democratic lawmaker’s perceived lack of progress on health care, one of the top issues for Florida voters in November.

“If you gave an elected official three decades to fix health care, what results would you expect? Bill Nelson has had 30 years,” the ad says. “Nelson voted in favor of Obamacare, lining the pockets of his donor friends while raising costs for everyone else. Nelson supported the individual mandate, punishing those who couldn’t pay. Higher costs, less access. Bill Nelson had 30 years and made health care worse. He doesn’t deserve another six years.”

AFP-FL did not include examples of the direct mail ads in its announcement, though odds are they will also be health care focused as Chris Hudson, senior adviser to AFP-Action, largely echoed the digital ad’s script in a Friday statement.

“Bill Nelson’s vote for the failed health care law punished Florida families with higher insurance premiums — 84 percent higher — and lined the pockets of pharmaceutical companies,” Hudson said. “Bill Nelson has had 30 years to fix health care and didn’t do anything. He doesn’t deserve another six.”

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Nelson is up against term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the fall. Most polling indicates the race will head down to the wire, though that’s a change of pace from early on when Scott led thanks in part to his vast financial advantage allowing him to hit the airwaves early.

Nelson is one of 10 Democratic Senators running for re-election in a state carried by Donald Trump two years ago, and a recent analysis by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight listed him as the “most vulnerable” Senate Democrat on the ballot.

“It might seem surprising that the fundamentals calculation regards Florida’s Bill Nelson as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent since Florida is quite purple and there are Democrats up for re-election in some genuinely red states” … “Nelson has a very good challenger in Florida Gov. Rick Scott; one way our model accounts for candidate quality is by looking at the highest elected office the opponent has held, with races against current or former governors or senators falling into the top category.”

Florida’s U.S. Senate election is seen as a “must-win” by national Democrats, who are holding out hope they can flip both chambers of Congress in the fall. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.

The digital ad is below.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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