Ron DeSantis’ committee funding mailers backing School Board candidate faves throughout state
Image via AP

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Mailers and digital advertising targeted to voters by county started hitting this weekend.

It appears Gov. Ron DeSantis isn’t just endorsing School Board candidates, he’s actively supporting them.

Mailers paid for by his political committee have started showing up promoting his preferred choices for local boards.

In Sarasota, a mailer arrived to voters that included individual pictures of the School Board member Bridget Ziegler, as well as School Board candidates Tim Enos and Robyn Marinelli. On the other side of the mailer is a picture of DeSantis with First Lady Casey DeSantis and the couple’s three children. The photo sits beside a stock image of a chalkboard with script type identifying the politicians by name and making clear they were “School Board candidates endorsed by Ron DeSantis.”

The paid political advertisements from Friends of Ron DeSantis came weeks after DeSantis started issuing rounds of School Board endorsements around the state.

Ziegler embraced the support and help as she seeks a third term on the Sarasota County School Board.

“I am incredibly grateful and thrilled that Governor DeSantis — the most popular and influential governor in the United States — is weighing in and shining a light on local school board elections because he understands the impact they have on the quality of education, Florida’s teachers, parental rights and Florida’s students,” Ziegler said.

“People overwhelmingly support Governor DeSantis’ Pro Student, Pro Parent Education Agenda, and the need to be laser focused on getting us back to focusing on educating our children.”

Of course, the feedback shows the mailers from the political committee — which has supported DeSantis’ state political ambitions since his successful 2018 campaign for Governor — promote the Governor as well as he seeks re-election. But rather than bolster DeSantis directly, it talks up his agenda through the candidate he supports.

One side of the mailers reads a list of priorities: “Keep schools open; Stop indoctrination; Promote civics and workforce education; Reject forced masking; Protect parents’ rights.” There’s also a QR code that, if scanned, leads to the Governor’s re-election website, specifically a page outlining his education priorities.

Mailers were directed at voters in specific counties. For example, voters in Lee County received a similar mailer promoting Sam Fisher, a candidate for School Board in District 1.

“Having the support of Governor DeSantis is an immense honor,” Fisher said. “I am truly grateful to have his support and am dedicated to working hard to empower parents and provide our children with the best education possible.”

Additionally, Facebook digital ads started running this weekend targeted to voters in particular counties supporting endorsed School Board candidates.

The flexing of DeSantis’ muscles seems especially notable considering School Board races across the state are nonpartisan and will appear on the Aug. 23 ballot, with many decided there. As DeSantis faces no Republican Primary opposition to his re-election campaign, his name won’t appear on the August ballot anywhere in the state.

That means the political committee will burn through likely thousands of dollars on mailers targeted to voters in individual counties promoting other candidates in an election where DeSantis isn’t running. It’s unclear exactly what the mailers each cost but Friends of Ron DeSantis dropped $132,824 on postage with Spectrum Monthly on July 28.

But the cost likely means little as the committee sits on nearly $125 million in cash on hand as of July 29.

The committee in the last week of July also issued $1,000 contributions to campaigns for each of the School Board candidates DeSantis has endorsed this year.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


14 comments

  • PeterH

    August 7, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Imagine a DeSantis endorsement for a school board that doesn’t have teachers. A direct result of DeSantis’s “culture war” policies, Florida currently has over 9,500 teacher vacancies! Florida rewards it’s teachers with one of the lowest salaries in the USA. (We’re in the bottom five)

    So what is DeSantis’s solution:

    “Let’s hire ANYONE with two years of College! You got that right ….. since mid-summer DeSantis’s Department of Education has been recruiting College dropouts with 60 credits to “teach” what exactly????

    Is there any surprise that 59% of Florida’s third grade students can’t read?

    What we’re experiencing in this state is the result of 20 years of failed Republican leadership. Florida voters should vote all Republicans out of office.

    If you vote for DeSantis in November he has two Christmas surprises for YOU:
    1. Unrestricted, unregulated, no license required open carry for all hand guns.
    2. An attack on women’s health. A near total ban on abortions in Florida!

    • Timothy Cates

      August 10, 2022 at 10:25 am

      Hollow scull Echo Chamber …anything novel or factual to add?
      Just the same ole liberal empty blather..

    • Garald Waldock

      August 17, 2022 at 7:03 pm

      Many teachers seem to have forgotten that their duty is ALL ABOUT TEACHING STUDENTS. Any teacher that thinks his/her welfare and opinions supersedes what is best for the students deserves to be terminated immediately and replaced with someone that loves kids. Teaching/relaying facts is much easier than attempting to foist an “Educated” opinion on young minds. American children’s scholastics are falling behind those of many other countries and until that is corrected our teachers deserve NO RAISES.

  • Joe Corsin

    August 7, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Vote RED for greed and incivility
    Vote RED for lies
    Vote RED for empty suit propagandists
    Vote RED for election crimes
    Vote RED for claiming victory while being slaughtered

    • Terri M

      August 7, 2022 at 10:29 pm

      Both negativity and hate are ugly Joe

      • Joe Corsin

        August 8, 2022 at 12:31 am

        Don’t kill the messenger! Kill the GOP!

        • Tom

          August 8, 2022 at 6:59 am

          Wah Wah Wah, peter h, corsin dumb ass ignoramuses. Wah Wah.
          Whiz kid Gov whizzing upon you all day long!

    • Rhonda Gartner

      August 8, 2022 at 4:06 pm

      Vote Blue for Communism
      Vote Blue for higher living expenses
      Vote Blue for no values and no morals
      Vote Blue for riots and no criminal justice
      Vote Blue for no respect for life
      Vote Blue if you can’t think for yourself.

      • Garald Waldock

        August 17, 2022 at 7:16 pm

        Very well said. I am old enough to remember a MUCH more civil culture than what we face today.

    • Garald Waldock

      August 17, 2022 at 7:12 pm

      Dems have absolutely no right to claim the moral high ground at present. Dem leadership has created or perpetuated most of the ugly issues that we face. Bad decision after bad decision after bad decision after bad decision…

  • Jake Homs

    August 7, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    Vote Demoncrats for Socialism, Fear mogging, violation of your constitutional rights and to make Amerika a Venezuela Again!

  • Ormond beach

    August 7, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    Would be really nice if he addressed the issues actually affecting us. Predatory home owners insurance, teacher shortages, housing crisis’.

    Cool, just invest garbage for out of state issues that don’t exist here though. Ya lost my vote 50 times over.

    At least be original! Poser!

    Real big fan 2 years ago. List me a while ago and forever

  • Carol Ann

    August 10, 2022 at 11:49 pm

    Don’t blame DeSantis, blame the current administration in the WH!
    Florida is the only state that believes people have a choice and didn’y get dragged by the nose ring by corrupt politicians taking their kids on a business trip to other countries on our dime. You want there to be no bail, sex taught to children 5, 6, 7 years old. Go to .CA.

  • joe

    August 15, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    Any word on endorsements from our Governor for Orange County Schools?

Comments are closed.


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