TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott’s political committee plans to air an ad called “Opportunist” about former Republican governor turned Democrat Charlie Crist beginning Monday, the day Crist is expected to announce plans to run for his old office with his new party.
A Democratic operative with knowledge of the ad buy said the committee is spending more than $500,000 on the ad. The source didn’t want to be named because he is not authorized to speak for Crist.
It wasn’t immediately known what exactly the ad says, but Republicans have been calling Crist a political opportunist ever since 2010, when he left the GOP U.S. Senate primary and ran as an independent. Crist registered as a Democrat in December.
The ad will air in 10 cities across Florida. The Associated Press confirmed through the Federal Communications Commission that the committee is buying time at several stations around the state for a 30-second ad to air for two weeks.
It’s unusual for an incumbent to start out a re-election campaign with an attack ad, said Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who is advising Crist.
“Most incumbents begin their campaign by making a case for why they should be re-elected,” said Schale, adding that it’s particularly unusual because Crist isn’t even a candidate yet.
Scott has said he will spend $25 million on ads about his opponent.
Crist is scheduling a press conference Monday morning in St. Petersburg to announce his plans. Republicans have been anticipating a run and have attacked him for months.
Republican Party of Florida spokeswoman Susan Hepworth wouldn’t comment. RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry didn’t return a phone message.