The battle for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District has been nasty, with the candidates trading insults and questions about their opponent’s character. Both parties believe they can win the seat and outside groups have poured more than $1 million into attack ads in support of their candidate.
Local television and radio stations along with mailboxes and websites have been blanketed with ads by two-term Congressman Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, and Democratic challenger Gwen Graham.
And the Graham campaign says it’s about to get worse, read the memo here.
Graham has raised and spent more money than Southerland and Monday her campaign sent out a memo to supporters warning that Southerland is about to open the floodgates to another wave of negative ads attacking her. In a fundraising letter to supporters, campaign manager Julie Gill Woodward wrote,
“If the situation stays the same, voters could be seeing up to six times as many cable TV advertisements attacking Gwen than they see supporting her.”
Woodward wrote a “firing on all Cylinders” memo to supporters that walks a line between cheering on the troops and warning of impending doom if action is not taken. The missive details cable television ad spending in the final 15 days of the campaign. Southerland and his supporters have bought $161,000 in the Tallahassee market compared to $17,000 for Graham and $122,000 in the Panama City market compared to $28,000 for Graham.
“Until now, we’ve kept about equal with the opposition on broadcast and cable TV. But, as we head into the final two weeks of the campaign, we need help to buy much-needed cable ads,” wrote Woodward.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, up until this point Graham has outspent Southerland about $2.1 million to $1.2 million. That’s a point Southerland spokesman Matt McCullough referenced when discussing the Graham campaign memo.
“Gwen Graham and D.C. attack dogs have outspent us on the airwaves for months, launching some of the most viciously false attacks of any campaign in the country,” said McCullough. “Despite all of that, Steve still has the edge in a margin-of-error race. I’d be scrambling if I were them too.””
Woodward deflected the suggestion that the memo was a call to arms by a campaign “scrambling.”
“We remain very confident and wanted to make sure our supporters know how desperate Washington insiders are to protect their guy,” said Woodward.
Ballotpedia has a listing of polls and other information concerning the 2nd Congressional District race here.