Republican Rep. Brian Mast and Democratic candidate Pam Keith are each going on the offensive after they emerged from their respective party primaries Tuesday in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.
Mast and Keith both coasted in their respective races. Mast beat back a primary challenge from retired police sergeant Nick Vessio. He defeated Vessio 86%-14% with a few votes still left to count in Palm Beach County.
Keith won an open primary for the Democratic nomination, topping attorney Oz Vazquez 80%-20%.
Non-party affiliated candidate K.W. Miller — one of the more eccentric candidates competing for Congress this cycle — has also qualified in the CD 18 contest.
Mast and Keith will be the two most viable competitors, however. Wednesday morning, Mast released an ad targeting Keith just hours after she secured the Democratic nomination.
“[Alexandria Ocasio Cortez]’s ‘Justice Democrats‘ have spent millions promoting socialist candidates and one of them is now running against our Congressman, Brian Mast,” the ad’s narrator begins. It should be noted Keith is a Democrat and has not identified herself as a socialist.
“While Brian Mast worked across the aisle to clean up our waterways, Pam Keith was on Twitter calling all Republicans ‘traitors,’ ‘racist,’ ‘stupid’ and ‘white supremacist,'” the ad continues.
“Brian Mast helped save more than 65,000 jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Pam Keith sold t-shirts to ‘impeach the M’Fer.’ When the rioting and looting started, Brian Mast called for our nation to support peace and justice. Pam Keith instead incited violence against conservatives. Brian Mast passed legislation to combat sexual assault in the military. Pam Keith wrote that Joe Biden ‘still has lots of rape to do to catch up to [Donald] Trump.’ Pam Keith: Too extreme. Too hateful. Not fit to represent us.”
That last comment about rape was in reference to Biden being accused of sexual assault earlier this year. Keith was making the comparison that Trump has also been accused of forcible assault multiple times. She also said of the allegations against Biden, “I highly doubt that’s true.”
Nevertheless, Keith has established a fiery online persona, which Mast will try and use against her ahead of November’s General Election.
Keith’s campaign manager, Robin Logsdon, countered claims in a Wednesday statement.
“Radical is ignoring science and ignoring experts and allowing over 170,000 Americans to die because of a purposeful intention to put politics over public health,” Logsdon said.
“Radical is recklessly reopening the economy and now reopening schools when thousands Floridians have died. Radical is looking the other way when Vladimir Putin puts bounties on American soldiers’ heads with absolutely no retribution from the President of the United States. If Brian Mast thinks this election is about social media, that is further proof that he is not the leader we need for these serious times.”
The new Mast ad will air as part of a six-figure buy.
Keith is also releasing a new digital ad targeting Mast’s allegiance to President Trump.
“Trump has dismantled America’s reputation and enablers like Brian Mast helped him do it,” Keith begins, before showing off her language skills and transitioning into several difference dialects.
“He has alienated our friends and prostrated himself before our enemies,” Keith says in French.
“His alliance with Putin puts our national security at risk,” Keith says in Portugese, continuing to hammer the President.
She adds in Spanish, “And now, the world pities us.”
She then transitions back to English. “I’m Pam Keith, Navy vet and daughter of a U.S. Ambassador. I approve this message because the next Congress will have to repair America’s reputation. We’re the good guys, let’s act like it.”
Mast has been the best fundraiser of the contest. CD 18 covers parts of northern Palm Beach County — including West Palm Beach — and extends upward into Martin and St. Lucie counties.