Ads for Bruno Portigliatti join Jason Brodeur, Patricia Sigman on Orlando TV

Geraldine Thompson_Bruno Portigliati
HD 44 TV commercials signal Republicans urgency to win back that seat.

New broadcast television commercials for Republican House District 44 candidate Bruno Portigliatti are launching in Orlando this week and like those that have been running for more than a month for the Senate District 9 candidates, they’re from a party committee, not the candidate.

The Florida House Republican Campaign Committee signed contracts last week for “three-pack” ads on two Orlando TV stations, promoting Portigliatti’s campaign in the western Orange County district while also promoting the reelections of Republican Reps. Colleen Burton and Tom Leek in the fine print.

The commercials make HD 44 the second state legislative race to go up on TV during the General Election Campaign. The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent more than a half-million dollars so far on a three-pack focusing on Jason Brodeur in Senate District 9, starting in mid-August. The Florida Democratic Legislative Committee has spent less but also has been running TV ads for Patricia Sigman in that contest.

The FHRCC’s effort for Portigliatti so far has been modest. The committee has spent $37,400 on a total of 17 spots for him on WESH and WFTV, according to contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

He is trying to oust Democrat Rep. Geraldine Thompson in HD 44. There still are no TV commercial contracts on file with the FCC supporting Thompson. Portigliatti had run up a cash advantage over Thompson with their campaign committees, but spent most of his balance in late September.

The two races are among the most contentious in Central Florida. Democrats are confident they can flip SD 9, representing Seminole County and parts of southern Volusia County. Republicans are confident they can win back HD 44, which Democrats flipped in 2018.

The FCC filings cover only those stations that broadcast through the air. Campaign spending for commercials on cable networks and streaming platforms is not included.

By Monday afternoon, the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee had not released copies of the new ad or commented on its release.

By comparison, the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee’s latest contracts, for the period covering Oct. 2-8, total more than $300,000 across four broadcast TV stations, WESH, WFTV, WKG, and WOFL. That buys 238 TV commercial spots for Brodeur.

To support Sigman, the Florida Democratic Legislative Committee spent nearly $200,000 for the period covering Oct. 1-6, across WESH, WFTV, WKMG, and WOFL. Those contracts are for 139 TV commercial spots, according to the FCC postings.

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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