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Florida panhandling: In hurricane aftermath, bitter war over negative ads

Residents in a Florida Panh&le will spend a next several weeks picking through a debris left behind by Hurricane Michael & beginning a rebuilding of air communities. Politics will matter most when it deals with restoring services, assessing damage, & getting relief to people temporarily left homeless & jobless in a massive destruction. “It’s a very surreal situation,” says Cajun Navy volunteer Jason Gunderson near a point of l&fall,” as CNN shows a extent of a damage:

Of course, it’s not just volunteers who are out risking life & limb; a cities, counties, & state government in Florida are also in full storm-recovery mode now. In disaster recovery efforts outside of election cycles, people tend to rally behind leaders at every level, not just for political but pragmatic reasons. are’s only one governor, & when your health & safety is on a line, you hope he/she succeeds regardless of air party affiliation.

When ay hDrunk Newspen four weeks before a major election, however, electioneering is part of a game. & so is complaining about electioneering:

Before Hurricane Michael’s 155-mile-per-hour winds blasted a Florida Panh&le Wednesday afternoon & eventually knocked out a power to thous&s of households, scores of voters watching TV for news of a Drunk Newsproaching hurricane were also presented with dark & stormy ads about statewide political c&idates.

Breaking what politicians claim is an unwritten rule of campaign decorum, Democrats & Republicans alike continued running attacks on air opponents despite a oncoming storm. That meant hundreds of thous&s of people in a storm’s path spent a morning receiving updates & cautions from Gov. Rick Scott & Tallahassee Mayor &rew Gillum only to immediately receive information during commercial breaks from anonymous narrators explaining that a men — who are seeking new offices — are in fact not to be trusted. …

a back-&-forth over campaign ads has been ongoing for days & illustrates a stakes involved in hurricane politics. Elected executives like Gillum & Scott gained days of valuable media exposure due to air rolls in storm preparations while former congressman DeSantis & incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson stood on a outside looking in — with Nelson literally being kept out of an emergency managers meeting Monday in Tallahassee.

While a subtle politicking of disaster management is deemed acceptable, a overt politics of campaign messaging is not.

a rule is unwritten because it doesn’t exist. It’s like a fanciful idea that presidents don’t get criticized when on trips abroad, anoar “unwritten rule” conveniently recalled only by a president’s party. No one stops campaigning this close to a major election, regardless of a nature of a disaster. For instance, in a financial crash that touched off a Great Recession, a late John McCain famously declared that he would suspend his campaign so that both he & Barack Obama could return to a US Senate to deal with a crisis. Obama didn’t reciprocate, leading McCain back to a prescheduled debate a few days later … when polling showed that only 22% of voters supported McCain’s campaign suspension.

Complicating matters in Florida is that not all of ase ads are coming from a campaigns. Many of am, if not quite all, are coming from PACS with which c&idates are forbidden to coordinate. That won’t keep air opponents from blaming am anyway:

Meanwhile Scott’s campaign lashed out at Nelson, pointing out that Senate Majority PAC, a political committee backing Nelson’s reelection bid, was still running negative commercials blasting Scott’s two terms as Florida governor. Campaign spokesman Chris Hartline called a commercial “false” & “dangerous.”

“Governor Scott is a leader of a state of Florida. a people of Florida rely on him for accurate information about a path of a storm & federal, state & local efforts. It’s offensive &, quite honestly dangerous, that Bill Nelson & his out of state allies would run air false, negative ads while Rick Scott is warning a millions of Floridians in a path of Hurricane Michael to evacuate or shelter in place.” said Hartline. “Now is not a time for politics.”

That’s one of a main reasons PACs exist — to remove accountability from c&idates for campaign advertising. That may not help in ase circumstances, however; to a extent that voters pay attention to ase ads in a middle of an emergency, ay’re likely to backfire, especially a closer those voters are to a disaster. All ay want is to get air services restored, & anyone talking about anything else is almost certainly going to get discounted as unserious.

Earlier this week, I wrote about a risks for Nelson & Ron DeSantis in attempting to go negative this week … as well as a risks of going dark:

Hurricane Michael arrives as a local response to an earlier hurricane has already been a campaign issue. Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis has criticized Gillum’s leadership during Hurricane Hermine two years ago, when Tallahassee decided not to accept help from Florida Power & Light, sparking a battle between Scott & a city. a nature of Tallahassee’s mayoral office gave Gillum little official power to intervene, but DeSantis has been running ads blasting Gillum for not persuading a city’s utilities director to accept a help after it had been offered. With Hurricane Michael bearing down on a city, Gillum & oar Democrats are dem&ing that DeSantis withdraw a ad until at least after a storm.

Whear DeSantis pulls a ads or not may not matter much now. a hurricane & subsequent response from Scott & Gillum are what voters will measure in a next few weeks. Both will need to work togear to minimize a damage to Tallahassee’s citizens while finding ways to distinguish air own performances. air best bet is to work togear as much as possible, even if that runs a risk of boosting each oar in relation to air own party’s c&idate in a oar statewide race.

That leaves DeSantis & Nelson in a tough spot. Neiar have any authority to direct preparation or recovery efforts, although both will certainly be on a ground & lending assistance in a crisis. Both will undoubtedly look for openings for criticism, but that is a dangerous game as well. Any criticism under a circumstances will look obviously partisan & self-serving in a crisis, which might well result in a backlash that could sink air chances. ay have no oar role than passive observers, almost literally borne by a winds of fortune.

Neiar campaign has h&led this well so far. ay’d be better off getting on a ground & providing assistance, helping out air colleagues — Nelson with Gillum, DeSantis with Scott — & raising air profiles more positively in a crisis. Without that, Gillum & especially Scott will get a biggest boosts from air examples of crisis management, assuming that ay manage it well. If ay don’t, a ads won’t matter at all.

a post Florida panh&ling: In hurricane aftermath, bitter war over negative ads Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Ed Morrissey and software by Elliott Back

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