GOP launches first DeSantis TV ad in general, references Dunedin baseball years

The $4 million ad buy is reminiscent of Ron DeSantis' Pinellas County childhood.
Published Sept. 13, 2018|Updated Sept. 13, 2018

Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis' Pinellas County upbringing in Dunedin is the subject of his first general election TV ad, which will air statewide beginning Friday.

When DeSantis was 12 years old, he and the Dunedin Nationals baseball team went to the 1991 Little League World Series. The ad opens with a TV news report from the time, showing the young baseball players in a celebratory dog-pile.

"We were only 12 but we learned to dream big, work hard and swing away," DeSantis says in the ad, while standing in a room full of old baseball memorabilia (including a Tampa Tribune article from the time). "And that's my plan as governor."

For what it's worth, that article from the Tribune archives shows DeSantis hit a home run and pitched well during the World Series. The paper, which has since been bought by the Tampa Bay Times, called "D" DeSantis "one of the teams' aces on the mound and a top hitter at the plate."

Tribune archives
Tribune archives

The ad, in addition to a version that features DeSantis narrating in Spanish, will run for 10 days and cost a total of more than $4 million, according to a release from the campaign.

Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for governor, also released his first general election TV ad on Thursday.

During the Republican primary, DeSantis' opponent, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, accused him of being too much of a Washington insider to understand the everyday people in small Florida towns.

In contrast to previous ads, many of which invoked Trump, this ad instead takes a softer, more local approach and incorporates DeSantis' Florida childhood.

The closing line?

"From Dunedin to Tallhassee, I'll always to go to bat for Florida," he says.

Times reporter Langston Taylor contributed.