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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Outside spending group targets 'Mr. Big Time' Steve Southerland in TV ad



An group called Ocean Champions said it is paying for this TV ad against Rep. Steve Southerland, reflecting national Democrats' hopes of knocking out the two-term Republican from Panama City.

Ocean Champions, in partnership with House Majority PAC and other groups, spent $300,000 last cycle against Southerland, according to Bob Doyle, the group's independent expenditure director.

This time, he said, it will be a "more comprehensive campaign." It begins with the 30-second TV ad that will run in the Panama City market for two weeks, starting Thursday, at a cost of $36,000.

Doyle, a vice president with ad-firm Main Street Communications, referred to Southerland as "Ocean enemy #1" in an email. Yet the ad mentions nothing about environmental policy.

Instead it implies Southerland sold out for Washington and tries to link him with Democratic budget votes on corporate plane use and lobbyists.

“Our campaign messaging takes the full measure of Rep. Southerland’s record. We’ll have more to say about a variety of issues as the campaign unfolds," Doyle said.

Southerland spokesman Matt McCullough responds: "Rather than explaining Gwen Graham's support for Obamacare or why she's advancing an anti-fishing agenda, these outside groups are more interested in distorting Steve's record of providing real relief to hardworking families.  It's a shame Mrs. Graham has passed up a golden opportunity to show some independent leadership by denouncing the false attacks being perpetuated by her liberal special interest allies."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:53pm]


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