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Bloomberg puts $100 million in Florida to work with first pro-Biden ad

The 30-second commercial carries an economic message aimed at the middle class
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gives a speech on the Supreme Court at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gives a speech on the Supreme Court at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) [ ANDREW HARNIK | AP ]
Published Sep. 29, 2020|Updated Sep. 29, 2020

A Super PAC funded by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg began airing its first ad in support of former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, part of a $100 million push to get the Democratic candidate across the finish line in Florida.

The ad, which Bloomberg told the Tampa Bay Times will air statewide starting Tuesday, carries an economic message tailored to working Floridians and it contends that Biden would be a “president for the middle class" by cutting taxes for the middle class, making education more affordable and encouraging people “buy American to create good-paying jobs.”

“Joe Biden was raised a middle-class kid, his dad struggled to support the family,” the ad says. “As President, Biden will help us get ahead."

The ad, which arrives just before Biden and President Donald Trump square off in their first debate, is the first of many expected from Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC. The Super PAC previously announced a $40 million TV ad buy for the final weeks of the election, one piece of Bloomberg’s effort to flip Florida, a swing state where the margins are extremely close and the outcome could determine who lives in the White House next year.

Trump’s paths to victory without the Sunshine State are limited, and the Republican leader is spending considerable time, money and energy to recapture a state he narrowly won in 2016. He is visiting Sanford on Friday to hold a Florida rally for the second consecutive week.

Bloomberg is also expected to run Spanish-language commercials targeting Florida’s sizable Latino and Hispanic populations.

In addition to television ads, Bloomberg previously announced a $4 million commitment to boost Biden’s ground game in Florida. He has also raised $16 million for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, an organization that helps convicted felons complete the financial obligations of their sentence and vote.

The latter effort has drawn scrutiny from Republicans, who have publicly suggested Bloomberg is attempting to bribe voters. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have called for an investigation, though state law allows an outside organization to pay off court fines and fees and the coalition is not screening candidates based on their political persuasions. In effect, Bloomberg’s money could help restore the voting rights of Republicans, too.

Florida is a massive and expensive state to operate a campaign. It is home to three of the country’s 18 largest media markets, making it cost-prohibitive for many candidates and outside organizations to stay on the air. Democrats are optimistic Bloomberg’s $100 million contribution here could move the needle enough to make a difference.

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“It’s not just game-changing, it’s election changing,” Democratic media consultant Kevin Cate recently told the Times.

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