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Republican political action committee targets DeSantis as ‘worst Governor in America’

DeSantis leads opponents on 2022 re-election campaign fundraiser

MIAMI – The Lincoln Project, a political action committee that opposed former President Donald Trump’s re-election, is targeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as “the worst Governor in America.”

The influential Republican PAC released a new targeted 30-second digital ad on Wednesday referring to DeSantis as a “mini-me Trump” who is trying to prove he is “more Trump than Trump” and who “doesn’t care how many Floridians have to die” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“DeSantis and Casey DeSantis think they’ll one day make it to the White House. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen,” the Lincoln Project tweeted with the ad attached.

Also attacking DeSantis, The Washington Post published “Opinion: Ron DeSantis reaches a new low of cynicism and recklessness” on digital platforms on Tuesday and in print on Wednesday.

The Editorial Board criticized DeSantis for standing silently as a city of Gainesville employee and lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against a vaccine mandate said the COVID vaccine “changes your RNA” when it doesn’t.

While DeSantis has traveled around the state to promote monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatment, he has fervently opposed the enforcement of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. DeSantis has also opposed President Joe Biden’s guidance on face masks and COVID vaccine mandates.

“DeSantis harbors national political ambitions. But what he’s displaying here is crass opportunism and disregard for the greater good. As he stokes the ignorance and misguided impulses of some in the Republican base, he is acting against the very tools needed to save lives and stop the pandemic,” The Washington Post’s Editorial Board wrote.

Last week, DeSantis told reporters that claims about his alleged ambition to run for president in 2024 are “nonsense.”

The Lincoln Project ad also accused DeSantis of prioritizing fundraising trips during the pandemic. It mentioned his trip to New Jersey where Joe Cayre, a real estate developer who owns a luxury 4-bedroom condo in Aventura, hosted a fundraiser on a Sunday in August.

Ahead of the Florida gubernatorial election on Nov. 8, 2022, DeSantis is way ahead on re-election campaign fundraising than his opponents — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, Florida’s 44th Governor, and Nikki Fried, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

State records show his PAC Friends of Ron DeSantis had raised more than $96 million and spent nearly $43 million from January 2018 to Aug. 31. Fried’s Florida Consumers First had raised about $4.52 million from May 2018 to Aug. 31 and Crist’s Friends of Charlie Crist had raised about $1.93 million from May to Aug. 31, records show.

Jamal Allen Sowell disagrees with all of the criticism against DeSantis. As Florida’s secretary of commerce and president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Florida, Sowell stood by him on Wednesday.

DeSantis announced a $3.4 million investment to bolster military facilities, support economic diversification in defense-dependent communities, and improve military-community relations.

“DeSantis is the most pro-military, pro-veteran, pro-law enforcement governor in this nation,” Sowell said with DeSantis smiling behind him.

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About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.