Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is taking his fight against sanctuary cities to the airwaves. The move by the Land O’Lakes Republican, considered a possible gubernatorial candidate once the legislative session is over, comes on the same day that another conservative, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, officially announces his candidacy for governor.
The nearly $100,000 media buy on Fox News is being made by Corcoran’s political committee, Watchdog PAC.
Corcoran told House members on the opening day of the session that he did not want to allow Florida to “become a sanctuary state like California.”
“This isn’t a political statement. This isn’t some academic exercise,” Corcoran told members. “When politicians abandon the rule of law and abuse their power – when they pick and choose what laws to obey – there are dire, dire, consequences.”
A bill banning sanctuary cities in Florida became the first piece of legislation passed by the state House. The 71-35 vote was down party lines.
The measure would require state or local governments or law enforcement agencies to comply with federal immigration laws. Those that declare themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants would face stiff fines of up to $5,000 for each day they are determined to be out of compliance.
The video produced by Corcoran’s committee recalls the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco. She was allegedly shot by an undocumented immigrant who had previously been deported. The man charged with her killing was found not guilty last month.
Corcoran’s critics have accused the Speaker of using the immigration issue as “red meat” aimed at stirring up the party’s conservative base.
“Can you claim to respect the rule of law while violating two different constitutions in over a half-dozen ways? Of course you can’t,” said Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach. “But you can serve up pounds of red meat for an increasingly intense primary season.”
Today’s release of the “sanctuary city” video is likely intended to capture some of the attention from DeSantis’ official announcement that he is running for governor during an official campaign kickoff in South Florida.
DeSantis announced he was planning to run for governor earlier this month on Fox. His announcement followed the endorsement from President Donald Trump in a tweet Trump posted in December in which Trump called the Florida Congressman a “brilliant young leader … who would make a great governor of Florida.”
Since Trump’s tweet, support for DeSantis has been growing. He’s picked up the support of conservative radio talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.
More importantly, he has been picking up the backing of some of the big-money supporters in the Republican Party. The list of names on DeSantis’ “Finance Leadership Team” includes billionaires such as Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus who is a resident of Boca Raton.