A new campaign ad from Democratic congressional candidate David Shapiro attacks incumbent Vern Buchanan—and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The advertisement, titled “Build,” features Shapiro inspecting the rotting foundation of an old, dilapidated home, then compares the weak structure to leadership failures in Congress.
“My father built houses. He’d tell me, if the foundation is weak, you have to tear the whole thing down,” Shapiro says in the ad.
“And now, gridlock and partisanship are making Washington weak. We need change. Politicians like Vern Buchanan and Nancy Pelosi have to go.”
Shapiro in August won the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 16th Congressional District. He’s challenging Buchanan, a six-term incumbent, in one of Florida’s hottest federal elections this cycle.
The new 30-second advertisement begins with family pictures of Shapiro with his father in military garb, then goes on to attack Washington politicians for passing tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and allowing influence from special interests on legislation, which he ties directly to red tide blooms savaging the coastal district.
Shapiro announced in September he would not vote to keep Pelosi in charge of the Democratic caucus, as first reported by Florida Politics.
That decision came shortly after Buchanan’s camp released an ad labeling Shapiro as Pelosi’s Puppet.
And Republicans scoffed at the notion Shapiro would be anything but a Pelosi Democrat in the House.
Max Goodman, Buchanan campaign manager, said the tie between Shapiro and Pelosi is too strong to ignore, noting Washington Democrats recruited him into the race.
“Shapiro’s in deep panic but he’ll never outrun Pelosi’s shadow because he was recruited by her and financed by her,” Goodman said.
Other GOP leaders agreed.
“If by some miracle David Shapiro were to make it to Congress, the first meaningful vote he would take would be for Speaker of the House,” said Maddie Anderson, National Republican Congressional Committee regional press secretary.
“Anyone who believes that he would vote for the Republican over Nancy Pelosi is living on another planet. Regardless, this politically expedient stunt won’t work. Vern Buchanan will win reelection.”
(In the past, Democrats voting against speaker have often voted for a different Democrat, such as when former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham backed Tennessee U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.)
Shapiro’s campaign says the new ad seeks to promote his message of shining a light on dysfunction in D.C., which involves demanding a change in leadership for both parties.
Pelosi in September told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that she remained “confident” she will become Speaker of the House again should Democrats win back a majority in the House, but that it’s “up to the caucus.”
Later that same month, the Democratic Caucus shelved a petition that sought to undermine her ambitions to become Speaker, according to the Washington Examiner.
Shapiro closed his ad with another shot at Pelosi.
“We won’t change congress until we change the people we send there,” he says.