In the final week before a special primary in Florida, businessman Curt Clawson has a message for his opponents: silence.
Clawson, who is running in the GOP primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., has released a new television spot featuring a silent shot of the ocean’s waves rolling up over the shore. Without a narrator, title cards over the sea state the ad is a 30-second respite from negative “attacks” from his GOP opponents, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.
In recent weeks, Republicans have attacked Clawson for his ties to a Utah man who was convicted of attempted sexual assault on a child, according to multiple local news reports.
The campaign has put $110,000 behind the spot, according to a campaign spokesman. Clawson has self-funded much of his campaign for Radel’s seat to the tune of more than $2.5 million.
Clawson’s spot is also reminiscent of a 2012 ad from former state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican running against Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass. At the time, the Boston media market was one of the most crowded in the country, featuring general election ads for the presidential, Senate and House races from both parties.
Tisei’s tactic won rave reviews in 2012 (including from Roll Call), but the GOP hopeful came up short. Tisei is running again for the 6th District this cycle.
What’s more, in the Florida race, Clawson is more aggressive than Tisei by naming his opponents directly in the ad.
The April 22 primary will all but certainly decide who will represent Florida’s 19th District. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
There is a special election because Radel resigned from Congress. He pleaded guilty to cocaine possession charge last year.