Wanted to make sure you saw this article from the Orlando Sentinel highlighting the $1.1 million ad buy against Dan Webster in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. The Val Demings campaign is surging at exactly the right moment — and with strong field numbers coming out of CD-10, Congressman Webster is in serious danger of losing his seat. You can watch the new ad here.
WASHINGTON — With only days before the election, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is targeting U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, with $1.1 million in TV ads — a surprise move that could upend a House race that’s already the most competitive in Central Florida.
Set to run in the campaign’s final week, the Bloomberg ads attack Webster for being cozy with lobbyists while boosting the candidacy of Democrat Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief who has sided with Bloomberg on gun control issues.
“Fed up with Congress? Don’t elect the same old professional politician,” is one line from the 30-second spot.
By any measure, the cost and timing of the ad blitz is considerable.
The $1.1 million ad buy, made through Bloomberg’s political action committee Independence USA, nearly equals the $1.2 million that Webster has raised this entire campaign. And it adds to the massive amount of outside help that Demings already has gotten this cycle, including $1.5 million spent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for its own TV ads
“Extremely significant,” said John Dowless, a Republican political consultant, of the Bloomberg buy. “A million dollars is a lot of money.”
But Dowless questioned whether Bloomberg, a billionaire with no party affiliation, could make a real impact with the ads — given that Republicans outnumber Democrats by about five percentage points in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.
“If he wants to get into a [House] race, there a dozen more races that are much closer and could be [easily] tilted one way or another,” Dowless said. “It’s a waste of money.”
Polls done by Democrats have shown Webster ahead by single digits — though Republicans have disputed the accuracy of those surveys. Still, the Republican edge in voter registration ultimately could be Webster’s saving grace, as Demings has beaten him in fundraising while attracting more support from outside groups.
Indeed, the TV ads from Bloomberg are only his latest foray into the race; in the last two weeks his political action committee also spent about $120,000 on political mailers, with that amount split between pro-Demings pieces and anti-Webster attacks.
So why the help?
Officials with Independence USA could not be reached for comment. But Demings’ support for some measure of gun control could be a factor.
Though she’s a former police chief who carries a 9mm handgun, Demings received an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association for supporting gun control laws such as tougher background checks for those not allowed to buy guns, including felons and the mentally ill.
Bloomberg, in his third term as mayor, is a vocal champion for gun control and co-chairs the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. A Webster spokeswoman focused on that angle in the campaign’s response to the Bloomberg ad buy.
“Nearly every liberal special interest group has attacked Dan Webster this cycle — Planned Parenthood, organized labor, EMILY’s list, and now Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun PAC,” said spokeswoman Katie Patchett. “Clearly Bloomberg, who only supports candidates aligned with his anti-gun agenda, believes $1.1 million is the going rate for a Congressional seat.”