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George Gainer goes local in latest TV ad in SD 1

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

George Gainer isn’t slowing down his campaign for state Senate against Rep. Matt Gaetz just because Sen. Jack Latvala – who recruited him to run in the Panhandle SD 1 seat – recently gave up the ghost in his bid for Senate president.

Gainer, a longtime Bay County Commissioner with deep roots in Northwest Florida, played on those origins in his newest TV spot, set to hit airwaves Monday on cable and network outlets.

“I’ve worked hard all my life. Started with nothing, but I believed, prayed, and stayed” in his hometown, says Gainer in the 30-second spot.

“George Gainer is proud to be a product of Northwest Florida,” a narrator intones, echoing the title of the new ad. “He doesn’t come from money, but he knows how to earn it. He doesn’t just believe in conservative values, he lives them.”

The ad’s new angle could be interpreted as a swipe at his opponent Gaetz, who unlike Gainer is unmarried and considerably younger than most of his prospective constituents.

Gainer may also seek to gesture to the fact Gaetz also grew up in a wealthy household owing to his father, former Senate President Don Gaetz, who made millions in the geriatric care industry.

The battle to succeed the elder Gaetz in the SD 1 seat may be impacted somewhat by the ongoing Senate redistricting process, where the Legislature’s upper chamber admitted to violating voter-approved anti-gerrymandering laws.

The new maps are expected to be enacted by early next year.

Regardless of the district boundaries the race is expected to be among the most expensive state campaigns of 2016.

See the full ad below:

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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