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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis launches first TV ad in reelection bid



U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, seeking his sixth term in office, has aired his first television ad touting his campaign. The simple message: "Gus is for us."

The 30-second spot running on local cable notes that the Palm Harbor Republican "stood up against his own party" on flood insurance hikes, makes reference to his strong support of military veterans and his fight to "keep America safe." It remains relentlessly upbeat, making no mention of his opponent or the heated, nasty battle higher up the ticket. (Bilirakis is supporting Donald Trump.)

The vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Bilirakis is considered a heavy favorite for reelection against Democrat Robert Tager, a Hillsborough County private attorney. The Cook Political Report lists Florida's 12th District, which includes all of Pasco County and portions of Pinellas and Hillsborough, as "solid Republican."

Still, Bilirakis told the Tampa Bay Times he intends to take the race seriously and campaign hard. He has held some town hall meetings with constituents, but so far has no plans to debate Tager, who has limited resources and no current intention to advertise on television.

"We work really hard in the district and try to do the right thing," said Bilirakis, who won his seat after the retirement of his father, who held it for 24 years. "Hopefully, people will look at our accomplishments and make their decision."

Tager has suggested that Bilirakis has had enough time to make an impact and that it's time for a change.

See the ad below.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 11:05am]


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