Andrew Gillums campaign for Florida governor has sent a cease-and-desist letter to television stations airing his opponents attack ad while the dangerous Hurricane Michael bore down on the state.
The ad in support of Republican candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis was paid for by the state GOP and was aired locally as both Gillum—the mayor of Tallahassee—and Republican Gov. Rick Scott were busy dealing with the storms effects on the Panhandle region.
It is abundantly clear that Congressman DeSantis is a liar who has no respect for Floridians and no positive vision for our state, said the Gillum campaigns communications director Johanna Cervone. His latest attack ad is indicative of a candidate with no moral compass who has resorted to desperate and dirty lies in order to score political points during a natural disaster.
Video: Ron DeSantis on Hurricane Michael, Florida governors race
In the letter, legal counsel for the campaign charged that the political ad, which claims that Gillum is running for governor and also from the FBI, is false as they have repeatedly stated he is not the subject of a federal investigation into Tallahassee City Hall.
Even the most cursory review of the purported source material cited in the advertisement demonstrates that the statements were made with actual knowledge of, or with reckless disregard as to, their falsity, the letter read. The advertisement is emblematic of the corrosive and divisive rhetoric tearing our society apart. And the fact that it is being run in the midst of a devastating hurricane is reprehensible.
Politico reported on Wednesday that the Florida GOP aired two ads bashing Gillum but said later that they would take the ads down.
At the same time, according to the report, a super PAC backing incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a Republican one backing Scott in the states U.S. Senate race also had negative ads up. The key distinction is that candidates effectively have no say in what their supportive PACs do while the party apparatus in Florida works directly with the DeSantis campaign.
Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum criticized his GOP opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis for negative ad campaigns that reportedly aired in areas where residents prepared to brace the impact of Hurricane Michael.
The Tallahassee mayor called the ads unseemly in an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC this week.
Both Gillum and Florida Gov. Rick Scott — who is running for a seat in the Senate — left the campaign trail earlier this week to return to Floridas capital city to prepare the state in their official capacities for the Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on Wednesday.
"It is unseemly to run those kind of ads." @AndrewGillum on his opponent Ron DeSantis running negative campaign ads during Hurricane Michael. #Hardball pic.twitter.com/Xu2XAwTtKz
DeSantis, who resigned from Congress last month to focus on his bid for governor, had also redirected campaign events to storm preparation efforts.
When asked this week about decisions surrounding pulling campaign ads amid the states preparation for the massive storm by MSNBCs Hallie Jackson, Gillum called the negative ads against him unfortunate.
One of the ads, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), was critical of Gillums response to Hurricane Hermine, which hit Florida in 2016. A Politifact article published Wednesday charged the ad distorts the citys response to power outages.
My opponent has decided to leave all of his negative advertising up, all the way across the panhandle, including right here where we are preparing our citizens for a Category 4 hurricane impact, Gillum told MSNBC in part.
He added that news alerts surrounding the development of the hurricane were being interrupted by negative campaign ads that were untrue.
Hurricane Michael weakened to a tropical storm on Thursday after devastating Floridas panhandle, killing at least two people.
HuffPost has reached out to the Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign and the Republican Party of Florida for comment and has not immediately heard back.
On Wednesday, RPOF communications director Meredith Beatrice stated on Twitter that the group had ordered the ads be taken down in affected areas.
On Tuesday, DeSantis apparently responded to questions surrounding the criticism hes received for not pulling negative campaign ads in the high-profile gubernatorial race.
You run your campaign the way [you] run your campaign, he told the Tampa Bay Times. It is what it is. Weve had all this planned out long before and were going to stick with our plan so people will see that unfold in the next day or two.
I cant remember a time where we didnt have statewide candidates pull down negative campaigns, particularly in those parts of the state, where people are trying to run for their lives, Gillum told Matthews in part on MSNBC this week.