Seminoles preparing $500K ad buy to push passage of gaming compact
TALLAHASSEE — The Seminole Tribe is preparing a nearly $500,000 media buy on targeted House and Senate districts across the state as it gears up to try to get a newly-signed gaming compact through the Legislature.
The new ad is aimed at some of the state’s most high-profile lawmakers, including House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Senate President Andy Gardiner, Jose Diaz, who oversees a key House committee, and state Sen. Rob Bradley, who oversees a key committee in his chamber.
The ad features the fact that the new compact would create an estimated 20,000 jobs and generate $3 billion in revenue for the state over seven years.
The commercials are set to run Jan. 8-17 on cable and broadcast television. The cable purchases are tied to specific legislative districts; the broadcast purchases are general messages not associated with specific seats.
Though the cable buys are associated with individual districts, Gary Bitner, a Seminole spokesman, said the tribe is not targeting specific members.
“No, they opted to reach as many Floridians as possible, including buys on cable and broadcast outlets,” he said.
The ads will run in every Florida media market, he said.
The compact, which was negotiated by Gov. Rick Scott’s office, has been deemed a “heavy lift” by many lawmakers.
Along with being one of the biggest special interest and lobbying food fights in state government, each member has parochial interest, which is sure to set off regional battles. There are sure to be changes to the gaming deal during the legislative session, which kicks of Tuesday, but any change that helps one area of the state could hurt another, which will prompt push back from that region’s legislative delegation.
The biggest target is the Tallahassee media market, with more than $55,305 in cable purchases. It’s a common practice for special interest groups pushing through any policy priority to advertise in Tallahassee. The Capitol city’s television market gets littered with ads during legislative session in an attempt to get the attention of lawmakers gathered for the 60-day session.
The second biggest target is Naples-based Senate District 23 held by Republican state Sen. Garrett Richter, which will see more than $40,000 in cable buys. Richter did not return a request seeking comment.
Others whose districts are targeted include Reps. Matt Gaetz, Jim Boyd, Dana Young, Halsey Beshears, and House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, the only Democrat targeted.
--additional reporting by Danny Ducassi