The Florida House Republican Campaign Committee unveiled an ad Monday touting the state as the “firewall of freedom” against policies like lockdowns and the “defund the police” movement.
The first in a series of ads ahead of the 2022 election cycle goes on the offensive with several freshmen Republicans. Members highlight the state’s anti-lockdown approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, election laws and law and order messaging.
FHRCC Chair Paul Renner, a Representative from Palm Coast, contrasted Florida’s freedoms with other states’ and Cuba’s after voicing support for Cubans protesting food shortages and rising prices. The campaign video touts Florida’s resurgence after the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s support for law enforcement and quickly reopening classrooms under Republican leadership statewide and in the House.
“Florida is experiencing a special moment where we really stand head and shoulders above other states for freedom and opportunity,” Renner said.
The Sunshine State has chosen freedom at every turn, he added, as Republicans applied “common sense conservative policies.”
The video’s title, “Freedom Firewall,” references the state’s opposition to “crazy ideas that have been peddled around the country,” Renner said, pointing to the defund the police movement and closing schools.
“Crazy liberal ideas, they don’t fly here,” Rep. Josie Tomkow says in the ad, with Rep. Kaylee Tuck in refrain.
Battling lockdowns has been a rallying cry for conservatives in Florida as they bash states like California and New York. Led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s economy reemerged faster than the national average. The state proved it’s possible to fight the pandemic and keep the economy open, Renner said.
In the ad, Reps. Dana Trabulsy and Daniel Perez are seated outdoors in restaurants while they speak to the camera.
“As sure as the sun shines, freedom reigns,” Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera says over the backdrop of the Miami skyline.
Republicans also passed more restrictive election laws this year, which Democrats compared to Georgia’s recent law, deriding it as “Jim Crow 2.0.” Republicans contend the laws will lead to safer elections and ensure voter confidence in the results.
The ad spotlights Florida’s voter ID laws, which were already in place before the election law overhaul. But Renner noted the importance of repetition.
Several of the members featured in the video come from swing districts, including Tampa Rep. Traci Koster, St. Pete Beach Rep. Linda Chaney, Sarasota Rep. Fiona McFarland and Miramar Rep. Tom Fabricio. Veterans from swing districts, like Reps. Jackie Toledo of Tampa and Chip LaMarca of Lighthouse Point, also made appearances.
However, those swing districts are likely to change. House Republicans will control the redistricting process, which will occur next Session ahead of the 2022 election.
Predicting which seats are in swing districts, in a redistricting year is “harder than predicting the weather a month from now,” Renner said.
“What I can tell you is we’re going to go on offense to make sure that not only we defend the 78 members that we have today, but, if there are opportunities to pick up seats, we are absolutely going to go after those opportunities,” he continued.
Florida elected a record number of Republican women to the Legislature in November. Renner hopes to continue recruiting high quality and diverse candidates.
The nearly two-minute video, which features 11 freshmen and six veteran members, is live on the committee’s social media pages and on the Florida House Majority’s website.