Hantler: More Fake News Attacks Lobbed at Surging FL Gubernatorial Candidate Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

The surging outsider campaign of Trump-backed, conservative Rep. Ron DeSantis for Governor of Florida continues to draw fire from entrenched, establishment interests. Last week witnessed the launching of a ridiculous new tv ad which aims to smear the man they most fear, Ron DeSantis.

The culprit is the so-called National Liberty Federation, which is a dark money front group for heavily-subsidized sugar interests like US Sugar Corp., which is a major supporter of anti-Trump, pro-open borders establishment candidate Adam Putnam.

The NLF’s previous $1 million-plus tv and radio campaign was a total dud because it was a demonstrably false attack that tried to characterize DeSantis’ opposition to Barack Obama’s food stamp policies as tantamount to wanting to extend food stamps to illegal aliens. Huh?

Having failed to tarnish DeSantis’ record as a border hawk, the NLF is trying to portray DeSantis, a noted swamp drainer who voluntarily declined his lucrative congressional pension to save taxpayer money, as a part of the swamp.

The ad says that DeSantis takes “huge campaign contributions from special interests” who then get “multi-million dollar contracts.” Who, exactly, gets these contracts? We don’t know. The ad doesn’t even try to explain. And how is DeSantis involved with these contracts? Of course, no evidence is provided.

If those claims weren’t ridiculous enough, this is where the ad goes off the rails. The ad claims that DeSantis “gets to live in a fancy beachfront condo owned by those same special interests.”

This is a lie. As was reported by Jacksonville’s Channel 4, in 2016 DeSantis and his wife rented — at full price, paid entirely upfront — a condo in Flagler County, FL while they were shopping for a new home.

This move was precipitated by the mid-decade judicial redrawing of the congressional boundary lines for all 27 of their districts, including the coastal area DeSantis had represented for four years. DeSantis wanted to move so he could be closer to the center of gravity in the new district as he ran for reelection and served his term for the 115th Congress.

DeSantis rented the condo from a personal friend, business owner, and political supporter for a handful of months, starting in July of 2016, while he looked for a new permanent home in the new district. He closed on a new home in October of 2016.

The other claim that DeSantis rented this condo from “special interests” who receive “government contracts” is patently absurd. “I’m not a defense contractor and have never received a defense contract,” says Matt Connell, the CEO of Jacksonville-based Total Military Management. “Ron DeSantis paid me a higher rent than any of my previous tenants. The attack ads are ludicrous.”

The National Liberty Federation has already been exposed as a front for the entrenched special interests in Florida who worked overtime to try and keep Donald Trump out of the White House. Now they’re attacking the President’s hand-picked candidate, who’s in the prime position to take on the entrenched establishment in Florida’s capital the same way Donald Trump is doing in Washington. And this is all being done to benefit Adam Putnam, a Kasich-style Republican who will seek to undermine Trump at every turn.

When you see the National Liberty Federation trying to slime Ron DeSantis, just think: Fake News!


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