After conceding the airwaves to his opponent, Governor Rick Scott, incumbent Senator Bill Nelson has released his first TV commercial in this election cycle. He’s put $18 million behind the ad to flood Florida airwaves.
It’s a biographical commercial from the lone statewide elected Democrat who’s served in public office for more than 4 decades. The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately hit Nelson for his need to introduce himself to Florida voters. “Bill Nelson has been in or running for public office for almost 50 years, yet his campaign still has to introduce him to Floridians,” said Camille Galio, NRSC spokesperson. “This is what happens when a candidate is a career politician who only shows his face during an election year and has zero accomplishments to speak of,” Galio added.
Nelson mentions his military service, his 1986 ride on the Space Shuttle Columbia as a congressman representing Central Florida, and his three terms in the United States Senate. He uses the ad to position himself as a fighter for the people. “I believe a public office is a public trust. You’re there to serve the people, not the special interests. Just wake up every day and do what’s right,” Nelson says in the ad.
That statement is a likely line of attack Nelson uses against his wealthy opponent. Scott’s investments have been criticized in the media despite placing them in a blind trust during his tenure in office.
Nelson delayed airing TV ads until after the primary elections and because he was lagging in fundraising. While Nelson’s campaign is just now going on the air, outside groups supporting him have filled the void. Governor Scott and supportive political committees have already spent $47 million on TV. Those ads have given Scott a narrow lead in most polls. A survey released last week from Florida Atlantic University gives Scott a 6-point advantage over Nelson.
The Florida race will likely be the country’s most expensive Senate race in the 2018 election cycle. The stakes are high for Democrats. Preserving Nelson’s seat could give Democrats control of the Senate following the November general election. The Florida race is equally as high for the Republicans who are trying to hold the Senate majority.