Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) released the first TV ad of his 2022 re-election campaign Wednesday, highlighting letters he's received from his constituents thanking him for keeping Florida free and open throughout the pandemic.
In the ad, titled "Dear Governor," various narrators read portions of letters sent to DeSantis throughout his first term.
"Dear Governor DeSantis, I wanted to write and thank you for working so hard for the citizens of Florida. Dear Governor DeSantis, I’ve never written a political leader, but I’m writing to express my appreciation for keeping us Floridians free and thriving," the narrators say over footage of the governor reading at his desk.
"A governor who says what he is going to do and then does it. I realize that the right thing is not always the easy thing. Without your leadership, we wouldn’t have been able to stay open. Because of you, my child has thrived through this pandemic. The monoclonal antibodies saved my mother’s life. I’m 11 years old and I'm glad I could go to school," the narrators continue in the 60-second television commercial."
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The ad plays the greatest hits of DeSantis' first term (from a conservative point of view), touching on his opposition to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, fighting back against "the woke liberal media," keeping schools open, and making coronavirus treatments available to Floridians who needed them.
"Thank you for keeping Florida free. Keep fighting the good fight" is the closing message of the 61-second TV spot.
"These stories are the 'why' behind Governor DeSantis' leadership and his fight for Floridians each and every day," the video description for the ad reads.
The DeSantis campaign told Fox News the commercial will air on TV statewide in Florida, as well as digitally. The campaign did not disclose how much it is spending to run the ad.
DeSantis is among the most popular governors among Republican voters, largely for the reasons mentioned in his ad. That popularity has translated to massive fundraising success, with the governor raising more than $100 million for his 2022 campaign — a record-smashing sum.
By way of comparison, his likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), the state's former Republican governor who switched parties, has raised just over $11.5 million this cycle to unseat DeSantis.
Part of DeSantis' financial success can be attributed to the support of GOP mega-donors who have also backed former President Donald Trump. Friends of Ron DeSantis, a PAC supporting the governor, received a $3.4 million donation in June from 10 high-profile Republican donors who collectively spent $24 million to re-elect Donald Trump in 2020, Politico reported in June.
The Florida governor's name is openly mentioned in discussions about a 2024 bid for the White House, although DeSantis has repeatedly dismissed such speculation and insisted he is solely focused on winning re-election in 2022.