Mike Miller blasts Democrats’ attack ad for mischaracterizing his role in lake project

Mike Miller

Republican congressional nominee Mike Miller is crying foul over a new television commercial launched in Orlando by the Democrats’ House Majority Political Action Committee, saying the claim in the ad that he steered tax dollars to a private country club could not be “further from the truth.”

The 30-second ad “Exclusive”, launched Tuesday on both broadcast and cable TV in Orlando, declares, “Luxurious, exclusive and newly renovated, a private golf course updated with your tax dollars, thanks to politician and lobbyist Mike Miller. Miller helped steer taxpayer money to the club for renovations.”

Miller’s campaign said Thursday that the effort had been to deal with chronic stormwater and environmental problems caused by runoff, involving a lake, Spring Lake; the neghborhood of Spring Lake; two major highways, Orange Blossom Trail and West Colonial Drive; and the Country Club of Orlando. The neighborhood is on the west and south shores of the lake; the country club is on the north shore. Orange Blossom Trail, also known as U.S. Highway 441, abuts the lake on the east side. Colonial Drive, also known as U.S. Highway 50, squeezes by to the south.

Miller is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, which covers north and central Orange County, including the Spring Lake neighborhood, plus Seminole County.

Senate Majority PAC, controlled by U.S. House Democrats, just started $390,000 to air commercials attacking Miller, according to a report posted Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Miller’s campaign responded to the ad Thursday by saying the matter had been a long-running problem and his role to help addess coordination issues between the city and state – which both had planned to address the problems and had already budgeted money – to get the project rolling in 2016. There was no new tax money brought in, just coordination issues resolved between the state and city efforts, his campaign stated.

The commercial also decries that in 2017 Miller held “a fancy fundraiser” at the country club. However, numerous politicians of both parties frequently hold fundraisers at the Country Club of Orlando. The ad ends with the declaration, “Mike Miller, working for himself, not Florida families.”

In a news release, Miller’s campaign had a resident of Spring Lake respond.

“I am sad and disturbed to see an ad on television that disparages a hard-working public official, like Mike Miller from doing his job to address a decade long environmental issue,” Spring Lake resident Susie Day stated in the release. “For over 10 years, our neighborhood has been working with the city of Orlando and the Florida DOT to address the runoff of untreated storm water from State Road 441 into Spring Lake and our lake system. Mike Miller simply brought all the parties together to fix this longstanding environmental nightmare.

“The makers of this ad should be ashamed that they would twist the truth into some kind of political hit job,” Day added.

Miller’s campaign also tried to aim some blame for the commercial at Murphy, though under federal law Murphy and the super PAC are prohibited from coordinating efforts in any way.

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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