Comcast pulls down Miami-Dade census PSA featuring County Mayor and congressional candidate Carlos Giménez

Carlos Gimenez
His congressional opponent, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, argued the ad prompted equal time concerns.

Comcast says a Miami-Dade County PSA urging residents to complete the census will no longer run after the ad prompted equal time concerns.

That PSA features Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez, who is also seeking a congressional seat in November. His congressional opponent, Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and the Florida Democratic Party have argued the PSA’s were serving as de facto campaign ads for the Mayor.

Those PSA’s were paid for by the county and were broadcast on stations for a lower rate than normal campaign ads. That prompted Comcast to offer those same lower rates to Mucarsel-Powell. According to the Miami Herald, the company pulled the ads in late August after the dispute.

An NBC 6 report first detailed the controversy. Miami-Dade County spent more than $23,000 to run those ads encouraging census participation more than 7,000 times.

Giménez is running for the seat in Florida’s 26th Congressional District as a Republican.

The ads from the Miami-Dade County government were slotted to run down into the Florida Keys, which is governed by Monroe County. The Keys are not part of Miami-Dade, but they are part of CD 26.

Inson Kim, who heads the Miami-Dade County Communication Department, said county officials were required to buy ads for both the Keys and Homestead together, as they are part of one block under Comcast.

“When we do a buy with Comcast for Countywide, they give us all of the zones to be able to reach all of Miami-Dade County,” Kim said. “This zone is included in our other Countywide campaigns.”

According to the Herald, Comcast granted Mucarsel-Powell rates that allowed her to broadcast a two-week ad campaign for under $6,000 — less than one-tenth of the regular price for campaign ads. That was done to blunt any concerns from the incumbent that Giménez was using the PSA’s as an end-around for buying traditional campaign ads.

Though Mucarsel-Powell did obtain those similar rates, Democrats nevertheless argue Giménez was using taxpayer dollars to promote his campaign.

“Instead of fighting for the people of Miami-Dade as they grapple with the worst health and economic crises of our lifetimes, Mayor Giménez is focused on advancing his own political future,” said FDP spokeswoman Alexandra Caffrey.

“This is exactly what people hate about Corrupt Carlos’s brand of self-serving politics.”

Added Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Sarah Guggenheimer, “Once again, Corrupt Carlos has been caught taking advantage of Miami-Dade taxpayer dollars to promote his campaign outside Miami-Dade County. There’s no constituent he’s not willing to sell out for his own political gain.”

The census PSA also featured County Commissioners Esteban “Steve” Bovo and Audrey Edmonson. Bovo is also running for a separate post in County Mayor this cycle.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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