U.S. Representative and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) released his first attack ad against Governor Ron DeSantis. The ad is focused on the executive order DeSantis signed regarding mask mandates in schools.

Crist’s 30-second ad, titled “It’s About Kids“, begins with the words “Florida is in crisis”, while news commentary in the background describes the state as a COVID-19 hotspot where “children are at risk.”

In addition, the ad also includes commentary and a written statement from an NBC story – prior to school starting – that reads, “3 Broward Educators Die From COVID-19.”

The ad criticizes DeSantis on how his executive order affects educators by noting how DeSantis has threatened to withhold salaries of school officials.  Crist states that he “goes to war against masks” as Florida has “more kids hospitalized with COVID than anywhere in the country.”

The ad then pictures Crist, who speaks directly to the camera saying, “Florida leads the nation in new COVID cases, jammed hospitals, and deaths. And now Ron DeSantis wants to defund schools where they’re asking kids to wear a mask? That’s not what we need. We need common sense, and we need to do what’s right.” He adds, “Join us in this fight because it’s your fight too.”

That fight has reached multiple school districts in the state as the Florida Board of Education (BOE) recently met to discuss the possible ramifications for school districts enforcing a mask mandate against the order.

As reported by The Florida Capital Star, other school districts have attempted to work around DeSantis’ mask mandate ban, notably Leon, Duval, and Hillsborough County school districts. These school districts have not received the same ire from the state since they have imposed mask mandates with a parental opt-out.

Crist’s attack ad comes as a recent poll showed DeSantis leading the race. The poll showed DeSantis ahead of Crist 51% to 43%, with an approval rating of 54%.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to caseyowensreports@gmail.com.