Gov. Rick Scott released his sixth ad of the campaign Thursday, a negative spot calling attention to how Democrat Charlie Crist "ran away" from Florida by trying to run for Senate when the state's economy cratered while he served as governor.
The self-described "jobs" governor wants the credit for the good economy and he wants Crist to bear the blame for the bad times. It's bread-and-butter messaging for Scott.
Trailing in the polls, Scott has already run two negative ads that bash Crist over Obamacare. Scott has released three positive spots, one of which was in Spanish.
The size of the spend tells us something: more than $5 million since March 12 and at least $6.5 million by May 15. That's more than any other incumbent governor at this point.
The location of the spend also sends a message: the I-4 corridor is of crucial importance to Scott. It's the swing area of the swing state.
Exactly 50 percent of the ad buy is reserved in Tampa Bay and the Orlando area.
Tampa Bay has the most Scott money reserved: 29 percent, or $1.9 million. Tampa Bay is Crist country.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, the state's most-expensive media market, accounts for 10 percent of the ad buy.
Total spending in the Congressional District 19 GOP primary, won Tuesday night by Curt Clawson, exceeded $6 million. That total includes $2.4 million in outside spending, continuing a trend we saw in a big way in the Pinellas CD 13 race won by David Jolly.
Total candidate fundraising was at least $5.6 million, according to a tally by the Sunlight Foundation. Clawson accounted for $3.6 million of that, underscoring a key reason for his victory. Clawson also faced the most negative advertising from outside groups, about $890,000.
Compare Clawson with the man he replaces. Ex-Rep. Trey Radel raised just over $1 million in his victorious 2012 campaign. An outside group, Character Counts PAC, spent $131,000 against him.
Ready to run again
State Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto said Thursday she is "resuming" her re-election bid, just two days after losing the Congressional District 19 race.
"Serving SWFL is an honor & I look forward to resuming re-election effort after work in Tally ends," she wrote on Twitter.
The congressional primary date (set by Gov. Scott) was advantageous to her because a loss would still allow her to qualify for the Senate. Benacquisto likely raised her name ID as well. She drew complaints earlier this year for running TV ads that did not specify which office she was seeking.