Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene is airing his first television commercials to Florida this week, starting with a 30-second spot showing him being tough with his Palm Beach neighbor President Donald Trump.
He is also launching a 60-second spot that highlights his father’s economic struggles and what they mean to him now.
Greene is going up in a big way, spending $2.9 million of his own money on this week alone on the TV ads and a digital buy, which his campaign said is four times the dollar amount of his closest Democratic competitor.
Greene, the Palm Beach billionaire real estate investor, entered the race June 1. And after a lull, he is leaping into a battle royale that already has Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, Andrew Gillum and Chris King racing toward the August 28 Democratic primary for governor.
The 30-second ad is called “Jeff Greene Stands Up to Trump,” but might as well take the name of the commercial’s tagline that is an early theme of Greene’s campaign rhetoric: “The timid need not apply.”
A press release Tuesday morning states: “Greene’s unique appeal to Florida Democrats lies in his ability to spend whatever it takes to go toe-to-toe with historically better-funded Republicans in the general election to help Democrats regain control of the governor’s mansion for the first time in 20 years without being beholden to special interest groups.”
The Trump commercial begins with a narrator declaring, “Jeff Greene stood up to Trump on national TV.” Greene is then shown appearing on CNBC in a pre-2016 election interview in which he says, “I know enough about Donald Trump to be scared to death to see him as our president.”
The narrator then takes over, adding: “Is standing up to him on gun safety, affordable health care, and women’s choice. But Jeff is the only candidate in America who was willing to stand up to Trump in his own dining room.”
That features a brief video clip, without audio, of Trump and Greene standing a few feet apart from each other at Mar-a-Lago angrily yelling and gesturing at each other.
In the longer commercial Greene tells the story of how, when he was 15, his father lost his textile mill machinery business in 1970 after the New England textile industry collapsed.
“When you lose your job you lose your dignity. You lose your pride. You could see the angst in his eyes,” Greene recalled.
“In Florida today, people are barely live week-to-week, paycheck-to-paycheck, and I know exactly what it’s doing to them because it happened to my family,” Greene says, as the video turns to shots of individual Floridians.
“We should have a responsive government that takes care of their needs. And as Governor, I’ll make sure that happens.”
The commercial then seeks to take viewers to the heart, though some might see it as melodramatic.
“Jeff Greene is running for governor, but maybe he’s really running for his dad,” the narrator concludes.