A group of political operatives with ties to former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pledged a month ago to “surgically target” small groups of voters around the state to help Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Part of that strategy includes running TV ads focused on reaching Latino voters in Miami-Dade County.
Republican Voters Against Trump, an anti-Donald Trump super PAC, will begin airing a TV ad on Tuesday in Spanish that compares the president to Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
“Dictators. Communists. Enemies of freedom and America, but friends of Donald Trump,” the ad says, while playing images of violence in Venezuela and Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. “Remember, dictators lie to you first and then ruin lives to get whatever they want.”
The strategy of trying to draw parallels between Trump and authoritarian leaders is one that the Republicans have also attempted against Democrats, including trying to tie Biden to Maduro by using a photo of the two greeting each other at former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s swearing-in ceremony in 2015.
The anti-Trump ad being released this week includes side-by-side images of Trump standing beside Putin at the 2019 G20 summit in Japan and Castro standing beside former Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The minute-long spot will run for the next week in the Miami market, and additional ads could run in the coming weeks. Republican Voters Against Trump has pledged to spend $8 million to $10 million on TV, social media, and digital ads. The ad comes as other groups backing Biden, notably former New York mayor and presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, begin spending millions on get-out-the-vote efforts in Florida.
Trump and his campaign have also invested in Spanish-language ads in Florida, as polls show the president performing better with Latino voters in 2020 compared to 2016. The Trump campaign’s biggest Spanish-language ad buy in Florida touts the economy and accuses Biden of wanting to raise taxes.
Trump has also courted Miami-Dade County’s Latino vote with in-person events. Biden hasn’t visited South Florida since September 2019. He suspended in-person campaign events due to the coronavirus from March until September 2020. He visited Tampa and Orlando earlier this month where he conducted a Hispanic heritage month event aimed at Latino voters.
Latinos in Miami-Dade, where Cubans are the majority, tend to lean Republican more than Latinos in other parts of the state. A poll of Miami-Dade voters conducted earlier this month had Trump and Biden splitting the Latino vote in Florida’s most populous county, even though Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida by a large margin four years ago.
The Tampa media market, which also has a large Latino population but not as large as South Florida’s, was the Trump campaign’s biggest recipient of advertising dollars in the country last week, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm.
Trump spent $1.7 million in the Tampa market from September 19-25, though the Biden campaign is currently outspending Trump nationwide, $42.2 million to $17.5 million in the last week. The Biden campaign is also slightly outspending Trump in Florida — $63.7 million to $57.5 million — from July to mid-September. Including outside spending, the 2020 race in Florida has already led to more than $200 million in political advertising.
The group behind the anti-Trump ad has deep ties to Florida politics: Mike Murphy, who twice helped Bush win the Florida governor’s office, is leading the campaign, while David Hill, a former Bush pollster, is also involved.