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2024 Election

Rick Scott to launch a multi-million dollar ad buy focused on Florida Hispanics

It's his opening message as his re-election race against former Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell heats up.
Sen. Rick Scott.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., at the Capitol on March 6, 2024.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images file

Sen. Rick Scott is rolling out a multi-million dollar ad buy focused on Florida’s key block of Hispanic voters, which have increasingly supported Republicans in recent years.

Scott is running for his second term in the Senate against former Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and is considered a heavy favorite, but Democrats in the state gained a shot of momentum this week after key abortion rulings from the Florida Supreme Court.

Scott’s campaign estimates it will spend $700,000 a week for a series TV, radio, and streaming service ads in both English and Spanish. 

There will be different ads over the multi-week ad buy, with the first TV spot being a softer ad that does not mention Mucarsel-Powell, but features Scott trying to center what amounts to his opening message around his “fight against the socialist agenda in Washington.”

“Socialism will kill the freedoms that create opportunity and erase the values that bind us together,” Scott says in the ad. “I’m Rick Scott, America represents what is good and possible.”

Scott has relied heavily on the issue throughout his political career, and used the same message to go after Mucarsel-Powell in a race that has at times gotten heated early. 

“Former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell is a radical socialist who voted 100% of the time with Nancy Pelosi during her short tenure in Congress, which is why the voters of South Florida booted her out of office the first chance they got,” Scott said of Mucarsel-Powell when she entered the race last August.

Mucarsel-Powell, who was born in Ecuador, was elected to the House in 2018 to represent a South Florida district, but lost after just one term in to Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez in a year where Donald Trump won Florida by more than 3 points in the presidential race.

Mucarsel-Powell has pushed back on Scott’s framing, calling the attacks against her politically driven misinformation.

“No amount of lies Rick Scott serves up will cover the fact that he has left Florida’s Latino communities behind by attacking access to affordable health care, refusing to take action to end gun violence, and backing authoritarian laws to control Floridians’ private health care decisions,” said Lauren Chou, the spokeswoman for the Mucarsel-Powell campaign. “Instead of fighting for economic opportunities, Rick Scott has prioritized cheap political games and stood by extremists who claim immigrants poison the blood of our country.”

“Latinos are fed up with Rick Scott — and that’s why they’ll support Debbie Mucarsel-Powell this November,” she added.

Scott, Florida's former two-term governor, is undefeated in statewide races. He has spent over $150 million from his vast wealth on past campaigns, and has already put nearly $3 million in personal funds into his re-election campaign. 

Republicans have dominated the state in recent election cycles, including in 2018 when Scott beat then-Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat. Because of that, Florida's 2024 Senate race has not been considered a major part of the political math for either party as Democrats try to hold their slim majority in the chamber.

Democrats hope that changed this week with two major abortion rulings from the Florida Supreme Court. The first allowed Florida to enact a restrictive six-week abortion ban, and another will allow a ballot measure sought by reproductive rights groups to be placed on the ballot in November. If it garners at least 60% of the vote in November, the right to an abortion up to the point a viability, typically around 24 weeks, would be enshrined in the state’s constitution.

Following the court decisions, President Joe Biden’s campaign issued a memo making the case that it could win Florida, and started running ads on the abortion in Florida. Democratic candidates up and down the ballot also hoped the issue could return Florida to its battleground state status.

“For us to keep the Senate majority…it runs through Florida, we are a purple state and I have been saying this for months,” Mucarsel-Powell told MSNBC's "The ReidOut with Joy Reid" on Monday, the day the ruling was announced. “Florida is back, baby.”