Rep. Loranne Ausley on Sunday described her Senate District 3 race as an “emotional rollercoaster” that made her wonder if she should “walk away.”
To date, GOP leadership has spent thousands to attack Ausley via television and mail. The race is widely considered among the most contentious in the state.
“It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster,” Ausley said on the Sean Pittman Show. “I’m tough, but it’s still hard when I get two to three mail pieces every single day in my own mailbox with all kinds of lies and distortions.”
SD 3 voters have been inundated for months with attack ads against Ausley. Some ads allege Ausley wrongfully financed her campaign with federal coronavirus relief funds, others claim she neglected her constituents during a Hurricane Michael budget vote.
The Democratic lawmaker has disputed both accounts. She described the ads as “distortions” that “desperate people revert to.”
“This is what is turning people off of politics,” she said on the radio show. “Good people don’t run for office because they don’t want to subject their family to this and voters don’t want to vote because they’re tired of seeing this stuff in their mailbox and on the television.”
Notably, SD 3 has stood as a Democratic stronghold for nearly two decades and Ausley was considered a natural successor to term-limited Sen. Bill Montford.
Of the district’s 347,013 registered voters, 180,205 are registered Democrats and 106,399 are registered Republicans, according to the Florida Department of State.
The harsh nature of the race, however, has taken its toll on Ausley.
“There have been times – I will be honest – that it’s like: one more piece of this mail and I want to walk away,” Ausley said. “But I’m not going to do it because then they will have won.”
With roughly two weeks before Election Day, Ausley will work to stave off GOP newcomer Marva Preston.
She encouraged residents to focus on her “record of service” as a testament to her devotion to the community.
“I just have to hope that shines through,” Ausley said.
The full Sean Pittman Show interview can be heard online.