Florida, New Jersey Congressional Races Heat Up With Ads

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 12:09 PM

By John Blosser

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Congressional races in Florida and New Jersey saw the release of the first video political advertisements by Democrats and Republicans.

Both parties are fielding hard-hitting ads targeting hotly contested races — in Florida's 2nd District between Democrat Gwen Graham and second-term incumbent Republican Steve Southerland and New Jersey's 3rd District, where GOP insurance executive Tom MacArthur and Democrat Aimee Belgard are campaigning to replace former Philadelphia Eagles lineman and two-term Rep. John Runyan, The Hill reported.

An ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), says Graham, daughter of former Florida Gov. Bob Graham, "talks about the North Florida way, but she sure acts the D.C. way. Take Obamacare: Graham never admits she's for it but says we need to stop fighting it.

"Graham won't talk about her vote for speaker, but Nancy Pelosi has given thousands to her campaign. We shoot straight around here. Gwen Graham doesn't. She's the wrong way for North Florida, so why would we send her to Congress?"

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) went after MacArthur, running an ad featuring disaster footage and saying, "When disaster strikes, some try and help. Insurance CEO Tom MacArthur tried to profit.

"MacArthur ran an insurance company accused of cheating hurricane and wildfire victims. While people suffer, MacArthur walked away with $39 million. In Congress, MacArthur wants to help insurance companies jack up rates and deny people coverage. Tom MacArthur and his friends profit, and we pay the price."

NRCC spokesman Ian Prior told PolitickerNJ, "It's no surprise that Nancy Pelosi's campaign organization would launch a despicable and slanderous attack on Aimee Belgard's behalf. Belgard made big money as a lawyer helping insurance companies defend and deny claims to New Jersey families."

The New Jersey race is getting personal early on. In a letter to Belgard, MacArthur's wife, Debbie, accused Belgard of "dragging this campaign into the gutter" over an email the Belgard campaign issued, and added, "Your smear was offensive to me.

"I recognize that harsh words and overblown rhetoric have unfortunately become a staple of modern political campaigns. However, I was truly taken aback to read an email someone forwarded to me last night where you accused my husband of spreading 'a deceitful message' in his first television ad."

In response to MacArthur's new video ad, Belgard's campaign manager, Hannah Ledford, told PolitickerNJ, "Tom MacArthur's ad is just another example of how desperate he is to distract voters from the fact that his former company was repeatedly sued for delaying and denying claims to disaster victims in their time of need."

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