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Matt Gaetz comes out swinging with new digital ad in Senate race

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

State Rep. Matt Gaetz unveiled a new ad Tuesday in his race to succeed his father, state Sen. Don Gaetz, in the Florida Senate aimed at seizing the “true conservative” label in what may be a testy Republican primary.

The new one-minute spot, entitled “Fighting Obamacare,” was unveiled in an email message to supporters Tuesday morning in response to news that Bay County Commissioner George Gainer — reportedly recruited to run by state Sen. Jack Latvala — will challenge him in SD 1.

“Today, the special interests who win when government grows have successfully recruited a Democrat-turned-Republican to run against me for the Florida Senate,” wrote Gaetz. “He will be well-funded and I need your help to fight back.”

The ad highlights Gaetz’s floor speech in opposition to the Senate’s “FHIX 2.0” Medicaid plan to accept federal dollars for health coverage for uninsured Floridians.

Contra senators who accused the House of being cold-hearted by rejecting the money for reasons of political ideology, Gaetz inveighed against the idea that moving more funding into the Medicaid system is a “compassionate” position.

“This federal money, it’s not our money. It’s the people’s money. And I won’t borrow more of that money against the future of my grandchildren,” said Gaetz.

“It is not compassionate to jam more people into a system that is already failing. It’s not compassionate to stick taxpayers with a higher and higher bill to fund a system that doesn’t work,” said Gaetz, who called Medicaid’s current funding scheme “generational theft.”

It is unknown whether George Gainer supports Obamacare or the Senate’s proposed modification of it but with his new ad, Gaetz stakes his claim as its harshest critic in the race.

Gaetz also touted his pro-gun bona fides, citing NRA past president Marion Hammer‘s commendation of Gaetz as “one of the most pro-gun legislators in the history of the Florida Legislature” and took a jab at Latvala in the missive.

In Gainer “the pro-Obamacare, anti-gun liberals have their candidate for the Senate. One famously liberal senator from St. Petersburg recently bragged that he would raise and spend $1 million in Big Labor special interest money to defeat me,” Gaetz wrote.

See the full ad below.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com 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 ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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