The campaign arm of Senate Republicans is out with two new ads counterprogramming the arrival of Senate Democrats’ “Florida Freedom Tour” in the Tampa Bay area.
The Florida Senate Victory bus tour, dubbed the “B.S. Express” by its Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee counterpart, hits Tampa-area Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz and Democratic candidate Eunic Ortiz for their background or purported policy preferences.
Cruz faces a challenge from Republican Jay Collins in Senate District 14 and Ortiz is competing against Indian Rocks Beach Republican Rep. Nick DiCeglie for Senate District 18 to replace moderate Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes.
In a 15-second ad labeled “Who is Janet Cruz?“, the FRSCC asks the titular question. It criticizes her for bounced checks, tax questions and making money while in office. The ad also links her to a “fake charity” for Hurricane Ian relief.
The ads also hit each candidate for “woke” policy positions. The Cruz ad mocks her with a clip of her protesting the legislation limiting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Meanwhile, the 30-second ad against Ortiz says the SD 18 candidate and former New Yorker wants to defund the police, dismantle prisons and cut school resource officers.
“Most New Yorkers ditched these nutty ideas after moving to Florida. Not Eunic Ortiz. Eunic Ortiz is a New York political operative who’s head-over-heels for nutty ideas,” the ad says.
It also suggests she supports taxpayer-funded housing for immigrants who are in the country illegally, taxpayer-funded centers for “safe drug use” and taxpayer-funded sex changes for minors.
“Will Ortiz vote for these nutty ideas in Florida? In a New York minute,” the ad concludes.
The case of Cruz’s bounced checks stem from the 1990s and have followed her since she first ran for state office in 2010. Cruz has called the 1990s a difficult time in her life, noting she was a single mom.
As for the fraudulent Ian relief, it’s not the first ad the FRSCC has run implying a link between Cruz and a charity scheme. The ad references the Florida Ian Response Fund, a project of liberal advocacy group Organize Florida that appears on ActBlue. The donation page notes contributions to the fund are not tax deductible. Among the groups participating in the fundraising project, which promises to address the needs of impacted communities, are organizations that have endorsed Cruz.
Senate Democrats launched their first-ever bus tour last week in a final attempt to carry their five “frontline” candidates to victory.
“We’re getting dangerously close to losing ground, so it is all hands on deck,” Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo told reporters Wednesday.
Republicans are on the verge of gaining a three-fifths majority or even a supermajority in the Florida Senate. At those thresholds, particularly a supermajority, Republicans would gain increasingly more unilateral control over the Legislature.
The FRSCC is run by outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson and Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo. Florida Senate Victory, helmed by Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, hit the campaign trail last week together with Pizzo and other Democrats and liberal activists.