Democratic congressional candidate Lauren Baer released her first television ad of the campaign Thursday, touting her experience in the Obama administration and underscoring her upbringing in the state’s 18th Congressional District, which stretches from northern Palm Beach County through the Treasure Coast.
The ad was released one day before Baer and other candidates in the closely watched race are scheduled to participate in a debate at WPTV in West Palm Beach. Her campaign said it will air until the Aug. 28 primary, when she’ll face fellow attorney and U.S. Navy veteran Pam Keith.
On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, is facing a pair of GOP primary opponents.
One of those opponents, physician Mark Freeman, has been airing ads promising to protect gun rights, which he says are threatened by Mast’s post-Parkland announcement of support for an assault weapons ban.
Mast, a U.S. Army veteran who lost both lower legs during an explosion in Afghanistan, had raised nearly $4 million through June and figures to have plenty of financial firepower to strike back.
Baer’s ad features voters in the district describing her, including one who says the candidate is “kind of like a little powerhouse in a pint size.”
Baer herself notes her experience as a senior adviser to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and as a lawyer “taking the fight to get money out of politics.”
“We want quality, affordable health care,” Baer says. “We want good public schools, a clean environment. This campaign is about families, the same people I grew up with here. All they ask for is somebody who actually listens.”
Baer’s extended family owns and operates Baer’s Furniture.
On the campaign trail, Baer has been critical of Mast, saying he has ignored the pleas of district residents concerned about health care.
Last year, Mast joined failed GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Angry residents packed Mast town hall events and excoriated him for his vote. The congressman said Obamacare has failed to control costs.
The District 18 race will be one of the most intensely watched campaigns in the country. Republicans and Democrats believe they have a shot at the seat, which has been held by members of both parties in recent years.
Democrats see the seat as a pickup opportunity that could help them recapture a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. For Republicans, a win would make it that much harder for Democrats to regain that majority.