New ads attacking Rep. Jim Mooney bear a striking resemblance to TV ads funded by a political committee connected to a Democratic operative.
This time, however, Mooney’s Republican Primary challenger is footing the bill.
As Florida Politics previously reported, Yolanda Brown, a past treasurer for Andrew Gillum’s political committee, is linked to political committees that have slammed Mooney with direct mail and TV ads.
Despite Brown being a Democrat, the ads funded by the political committees — Floridians for Truth Now and Freedom for Florida — chide Mooney for opposing legislation backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. A second ad falsely accused Mooney of claiming multiple homestead exemptions. That ad has since been pulled from the airwaves.
Now, a virtual carbon copy of the ad branding Mooney as a liberal is running on TV in House District 120. The similarity is beyond conspicuous — the ad uses the same stock art as the ad funded by the Democrat-run political committees, with the only visible difference being the aspect ratio.
The only other notable change: The disclosure text states it was paid for by Republican challenger Rhonda Rebman Lopez.
Lopez has denied working with Democratic operatives to get a leg up in the race and has sent her attorneys after Mooney over the allegation, writing in a cease-and-desist letter that the candidate is “not working with Gullium Democrats” [sic].
But this is not the first time Lopez has been credibly accused of working with Democrats to defeat Mooney. She ran for the same office in 2020, losing to Mooney by just 148 votes.
Mooney was hit with a torrent of direct-mail attacks in that race. When Lopez was asked directly whether she was involved with the direct-mail flight, she vehemently denied it.
“I had nothing to do with this. I’m a Christian woman. I’m from the South. My parents raised me right,” she told the Miami Herald in 2020.
It was quickly discovered that Lopez was the Chair of a political committee that funded one of the direct-mail campaigns. A separate anti-Mooney ad campaign was underwritten by a political committee that shared the same address as the committee Chaired by Lopez.
All signs point to a similar deception this year.