On Saturday, former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s PAC For a Change began running digital ads that take a swipe at Scott’s pro-gun platform, as well as his affinity for one longtime campaign donor in particular, the National Rifle Association. In text over a black-and-white image of the Republican governor, the ad reads: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott offered only 'thoughts and prayers' after the latest tragic school shooting. No surprise."
"Isn’t a child’s life worth more than that?" the ad asks viewers, referring to Scott’s history of coasting on the NRA’s support. "Enough."
The ad – part of a digitally focused buy targeting voters in the Sunshine State – was produced in light of Scott’s likely attempt at a U.S. Senate campaign later this year due to Florida’s gubernatorial term limits. Although Scott has yet to announce his intentions to run, he would challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson – whose re-election prospects have been deemed vulnerable in recent months – later this year in the 2018 mid-term elections.
The ad’s criticism comes, at least in part, as a result of Scott’s tweet following the shooting that took place last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The incident left 17 dead and more than a dozen others injured.
Just spoke with @POTUS about shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, their families and the entire community. We will continue to receive briefings from law enforcement and issue updates.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) February 14, 2018
Following the shooting, Scott said he plans to meet with Florida lawmakers this week to have what he called "a real conversation" about school safety and individuals suffering from mental illness. Those same folks, Scott reportedly said, "should not have access to a gun."
Boxer’s PAC reportedly raised $1.7 million in 2017 and is spending roughly $25,000 on the initial digital-only buy.
Scott has previously received an "A+" grade from the NRA.