Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is on the air with his first TV attack ad against incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis.
Titled “It’s About Kids,” the 30-second spot takes on DeSantis over his resistance to several measures to stop or slow COVID-19’s spread in schools.
The advertisement begins with a montage of stories and headlines, displayed over news commentary about DeSantis’ fight against districts requiring masks in school. Crist appears at the end to speak directly to the camera.
“Ron DeSantis schools wants to defund schools where they’re asking kids to wear a mask,” Crist says. “That’s not what we need. We need common sense, and we need to do what’s right.”
It’s part of a five-figure statewide cable buy, POLITICO reports, and available to view online.
The ad hits screens in the wake of DeSantis issuing an executive order forbidding districts from mandating masks. More than 15 school districts have implemented some mandate in place anyway, though most allow parents to opt out of the requirement.
But as the delta variant surges in Florida and an increasing number of those testing positive for the coronavirus are children — many under age 12 and ineligible to receive a vaccine — more districts are considering dropping any opt-out and defying the order. In the case of two districts with full mandates, the Board of Education is considering withholding the pay of superintendents and school board members.
The ad highlights how the Governor “goes to war against masks” and juxtaposes that to news of three Broward teachers dying from COVID-19, although school had not yet started in Broward at the time.
“Join us in this fight because it’s your fight, too,” Crist concludes.
Crist previously served as Governor as a Republican, elected in 2006, and ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in 2014. Crist faces Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Democratic Primary.