Freshman U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and Republican congressional hopeful Carl Domino are launching new TV ads this week that offer a preview of the general election air war to come in Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 and other swing districts around the country.
Murphy, running in a Republican-leaning district, describes himself in his first 2014 campaign ad as an “independent fighter” who has “worked with Democrats and Republicans” in Washington and believes that “solutions matter, not party politics.”
Murphy will spend $150,000 over the next week to run the 30-second ad. He’s the top House Democratic fundraiser this year and has reserved $1.4 million worth of TV time between now and the general election.
Murphy crosses the aisle more often than other House Dems and is more likely to vote against President Barack Obama’s position than others in the Democratic caucus. But Murphy supports the Affordable Care Act and the immigration reform bill passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate in 2013. Sen. Marco Rubio also supported the immigration bill, but many conservatives deride it as too lenient toward people who entered the country illegally.
So Republican Domino’s ad, which debuts Tuesday, begins: “Washington is broken and Congressman Patrick Murphy is a piece of the problem, standing with Nancy Pelosi on issues like Obamacare and amnesty for illegal immigrants.”
It’s a line of criticism that’s likely to be repeated throughout the fall whether Domino or one of his five GOP rivals wins the Aug. 26 primary.
Domino is spending $125,000 over the next two weeks on the ad, which will be his first to air on broadcast TV. He’s been running less-expensive cable ads since July 30. The new Domino ad doesn’t mention the Republican primary.
While Domino takes aim at Murphy, former Connecticut legislator Alan Schlesinger plans to take aim at Domino this week by spending at least $50,000 on cable TV and radio ads that accuse Domino of not being a true conservative. Among the evidence Schlesinger cites is Domino’s support in the state House for in-state tuition benefits for Florida students whose parents are not citizens.
Schlesinger decided to put $100,000 more of his own money into the race last week after he said an internal poll put him within “striking distance” of Domino.
— In a big reversal from 2012, the Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach County union has endorsed Republican challenger Ellyn Bogdanoff over Democratic Sen. Maria Sachs in Palm Beach-Broward Senate District 34.
Sachs and Bogdanoff squared off two years ago in an epic clash of Senate incumbents who were pitted against each other by redistricting. The union backed Sachs in that race.
But Sachs and the union had trouble scheduling a 2014 endorsement interview, with a planned meeting last Thursday getting scrubbed because of the special legislative session to fix the state’s congressional district map. Sachs consultant Judy Stern said she was under the impression an interview could still be arranged when union President Ricky Grau sent a Thursday letter to Sachs saying the cancellations and “failure to respond to multiple attempts to reschedule has indicated to us your lack of desire and/or interest in our endorsement.”
Stern said she was “shocked” and “dumbfounded” by Grau’s letter because Grau’s assistant had said the union’s deadline to complete its screening process was Aug. 15.
Grau said this year’s endorsement was a tough choice, but “we were very impressed with Ellyn Bogdanoff’s depth of understanding of our issues. She has gained a lot of experience with her tenures in both the House and the Senate and we feel she would be in a better position to support our causes in the years to come.”
— The two Democratic primary challengers to U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, have accused the 11-term incumbent of neglecting his district. But when the three candidates shared a stage for the first time last week, Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Jean Enright and former boxer Jameel McCline kept their criticisms of Hastings to a minimum.
“I’m running for Congress because I feel that we need change and I have nothing against the congressman,” said Enright. “I feel that over a period of time, we just need a new voice. We need to change things up.”
Said McCline:“Looking around the 20th District I see a lot of people that are overlooked and left out. … I commend the congressman, I truly do, for the work he’s done in the past. But again, that’s in the past. I’m only looking to the future.”
Hastings, who has never faced a serious re-election threat, was cordial to his challengers and said: “I hope Jameel and Jean will stay in politics after they are defeated in this race.”