One of the first direct punches has been thrown in the Republican primary, and Congressman Ron DeSantis is the target. The attack comes in the form of a website and a pair of videos accusing DeSantis of voting to cut Medicare, and “putting the D.C. establishment first, and Florida seniors and veterans last.”
But who threw the punch is still a mystery, as neither the website nor the video carry any disclaimers as to who paid for the production of the videos or the website.
The site itself, “TheRealRonDeSantis.com” has very little content, featuring an image of DeSantis standing waist deep in a swamp under a headline that says “a vote for Ron Desantis is a vote to cut Medicare.” Below the headline, next to the half-submerged DeSantis, is a 30-second Youtube video highlighting alleged DeSantis votes, but doesn’t provide any citations. Sifting through the site metadata and content also yielded no obvious clues.
Clicking through to the Youtube channel reveals a shorter, 15-second version of the same attack.
It’s unclear how the ad is being used to target specific voters, but it’s a perfect illustration of why DeSantis is going to need to post some very healthy fundraising numbers in the months ahead. DeSantis is widely expected to transfer around $2.5 million from his federal campaign account into a Florida political committee fund, and will likely post between $700,000 and $1 million in new fundraising since he officially entered the governor’s race.
That may not be nearly enough to be competitive, especially if DeSantis is already being forced to fend off attacks like this one, designed to define him to key voting segments before DeSantis has enough money to define himself. His biggest opponent in the GOP primary, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, is expected to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million when the new fundraising numbers are posted early next week.
That kind of cash advantage, combined with the increasingly likely entry of Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran into the governor’s race, puts Putnam in the driver’s seat with only seven months to go before the August primary.
Here’s the video featured on the anti-DeSantis site: