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Charlie Crist suspends some Florida political ads as Hurricane Ian nears

It’s a little over a month before Election Day, when Crist will go head-to-head against Gov. Ron DeSantis.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist addresses supporters after he is announced the winner of his primary at his watch party In the Grand Bay Ballroom of the Hilton St. Pete Bayfront Hotel, 333 1st St SE, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 in St. Petersburg.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist addresses supporters after he is announced the winner of his primary at his watch party In the Grand Bay Ballroom of the Hilton St. Pete Bayfront Hotel, 333 1st St SE, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 26

With Hurricane Ian threatening major damage to Florida’s Gulf Coast, Democratic nominee for governor Charlie Crist is suspending his political ads in the Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando and Jacksonville media markets, his campaign announced Monday afternoon.

Still, Crist campaign spokeswoman Samantha Ramirez said Crist’s ads will continue running in the Miami and West Palm Beach areas.

It’s an example of how Florida politics are expected to temporarily freeze during the potential natural disaster, as the state turns all its attention to weathering what is forecast to be a major storm. Despite all the resources campaigns have spent trying to highlight their top issues, a little more than one month before Election Day, Hurricane Ian will be the top — and likely only — concern on voters’ minds for a time.

“The last thing you want to see when you’re worried about your roof being blown off is a negative political ad,” said Ashley Walker, a veteran Democratic political consultant in South Florida, who Monday morning predicted a broad pause in political communications.

“For one, people aren’t paying attention to it,” she said. “And two, it’s also being respectful of where voters are and what they’re thinking about.”

Neither a DeSantis campaign spokeswoman nor the Republican Party of Florida immediately returned voicemails asking about their plans for ads during the storm.

• • •

2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.

RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.

DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits

PHONE IT IN: Use your smartphone to protect your data, documents and photos.

SELF-CARE: Protect your mental health during a hurricane.

• • •

Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change

PART 1: The Tampa Bay Times partnered with the National Hurricane Center for a revealing look at future storms.

PART 2: Even weak hurricanes can cause huge storm surges. Experts say people don't understand the risk.

PART 3: Tampa Bay has huge flood risk. What should we do about it?

INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.

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