Ads by DeSantis, Opponents Offer Clashing Definitions of Freedom

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Viewers in Florida with a penchant for skipping past TV or internet ads may miss juicy material coming across the airwaves between now and Election Day in November.

Political communications experts viewed the first crop of campaign ads from Gov. Ron DeSantis and his two top Democratic opponents in the Sunshine State.

Here are some quick takes:

A major theme associated with the state’s gubernatorial race is “freedom.” But how candidates define “freedom” seems to vary widely, experts told The Epoch Times.

Another observation: DeSantis, with buckets of campaign cash and a predicted victory in the fall, wisely is taking “the high road.” His ads poke at no one, tout his accomplishments, and appeal to a wide range of voters, even outside his base.

If the race tightens, he can afford to pummel his challengers by flooding the state’s expensive media markets with harder-hitting messages, the experts said.

Meanwhile, a cheeky ad campaign directed at DeSantis by another governor, California’s Gavin Newsom, attracted viral national news coverage following its Independence Day launch in Florida.

With his ad, Newsom ventured onto DeSantis’s turf to try to tear him down. But the attack could backfire on the Democrat, who appears to be teeing up a presidential run, one expert predicts. Newsom’s suggestion that Floridians may want to flee to California to experience more freedom can be easily deflected by DeSantis through data that show where Americans are moving to or from, the expert said.

DeSantis challenger Charlie Crist—a Democratic congressman who previously served as a Republican governor of Florida—has ignored his top opponent in the two ads he’s released in advance of the Democratic gubernatorial primary on Aug. 23.

In addition, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who trails Crist in polling, may be making a misstep by taking an “angry tone” in ads that swipe at both her current opponent and DeSantis, experts said.

Crist, Fried, and two other Democrats will square off in the primary. The winner will advance to face DeSantis, three write-in candidates, a libertarian, and two others with no party affiliation (NPA).

By Nanette Holt

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