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Ooops: Ross Spano accidentally brought a gun to the airport.

2020

Ross Spano radio ad implies Donald Trump endorsement where none exists

President said Congressman’s name at rally, but hasn’t taken sides in primary.

A new radio ad from Rep. Ross Spano’s campaign creatively splices audio of President Donald Trump to imply an endorsement. The problem is the President never took sides in that upcoming Republican primary.

The radio ad starts with Trump’s voice saying “the warriors, Ross Spano.” Then a female narrator jumps in to describe Spano as a “warrior on fighting on illegal immigration.” Then the clip of Trump simply saying the Congressman’s name get cut in to a listof issues.

“Ross Spano.” “A warrior fighting to build the border wall.”

“Ross Spano.” “Endorsed by the NRA. Endorsed by pro-life organizations.”

The ad concludes with the narrator describing Spano as a “warrior for our values” and a candidate disclosure.

The audio appears to come from a Trump rally where the President identified Congressmen in attendance. But it’s unclear if he’s even calling Spano a warrior directly.

Critics seized on the questionable edit immediately. That included Rep. Matt Gaetz, a colleague of Spano who endorsed the Dover Republican’s opponent in the Aug. 18 GOP primary.

He tweeted a recording of the ad playing on WLKF.

“OMG! Award for weirdest use of audio editing to try & fool voters into thinking you have Trump’s endorsement when you don’t goes to Ross Spano,” Gaetz wrote. “His name was on a list at a rally. No endorsement. For good reason. Sad!”

Trump has endorsed in about 22 primaries in battleground districts nationwide, according to Ballotpedia. That includes backing Rep. Bill Posey in Florida’s 8th Congressional District and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giminez in a challenge against Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

But he’s not weighed in with Spano’s reelection bid in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, despite the race being one of the most closely watched in the President’s adopted home state.

Gaetz is probably right about the reason, namely criticism surrounding an illegal personal loan Spano admits he took to finance his campaign in 2018. He remains under investigation over the issue.

An intellectually dishonest advertisement may convince some voters Spano enjoys Trump’s support, or it could feed a narrative from primary challenger Scott Franklin that Spano can’t be trusted. A recent ad from Franklin’s camp slammed Spano over the loan, an attack sure to dog the Congressman should he make it into a general election contest as well.

“Ross Spano engineered an illegal contribution to his campaign to win an election,” the Franklin ad states. “He calls it a ‘mistake.’ The law calls it a crime.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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