Democrats just spent another hefty sum to let voters know about Vern Buchanan's yacht.
On Tuesday, a Democratic-leaning SuperPAC, Change Now, began airing a new television spot in Tampa highlighting Buchanan's purchase of a luxury boat on the same day he voted for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
"He helped write the new tax law — that's a windfall for himself," the narrator in the ad, which is part of a six-figure buy, says. "Hours after the bill passed, Vern Buchanan bought himself a new yacht."
According to an Axios report, Change Now is funded by a coalition of labor, environmental and other Democratic-leaning groups. The League of Conservation Voters and the Service Employees International Union are two primary contributors to the group.
"Another dishonest attack by Shapiro's cronies," Max Goodman, a spokesman for Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, said of the ad. "This race offers voters a clear choice between a congressman who reduced taxes on the middle class and liberal David Shapiro who wants to raise taxes even though he was delinquent paying his own." (A Shapiro campaign spokesman said the "delinquent" line is an "overblown attack" about an incident from 20 years ago when Shapiro and a business partner were a few months late paying property taxes.)
Democrats have already poured millions into the Congressional District 16 race, much of that going to attack ads about Buchanan's yacht. Buchanan, one of Congress' wealthiest representatives, reportedly bought the yacht on the same day he voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Democrats have criticized that legislation for being too generous to affluent Americans like Buchanan.
According to a media study by the left-leaning Floridians for a Fair Shake — a dark money group that has itself taken out ads about the yacht — messaging about Buchanan's yacht is making inroads with voters.
According to the study, 100 percent of July stories from national press outlets that mentioned Buchanan also mentioned the yacht. Buchanan's name was also mentioned far more frequently that month than in June.
The report also noted that prognosticators estimate that the Democrats' chances of flipping Buchanan's seat have improved since the story of Buchanan's yacht purchase first broke. Cook Political Report, the group that's the most bullish on Shapiro's chances to win, currently rates the district as "Lean Republican." But two other rating groups, Daily Kos and FiveThirtyEight, have the district listed as "Likely Republican."
Buchanan represents parts of Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties.
Watch the Change Now ad here: