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Monday, June 24, 2024

Gainesville’s state Senate candidates, Perry McGriff and Steve Oelrich, are slinging mud over negative attack ads.

On Thursday afternoon Oelrich, the incumbent Republican, sent an open letter to McGriff asking him to agree to an “immediate and mutual cease and desist of all negative campaign advertisements for the duration of this campaign.”

Oelrich’s letter came after McGriff took legal action over an attack advertisement endorsed by Oelrich on Oct. 17.

The McGriff campaign accused Oelrich and the Republican Party of Florida of purposefully distorting his position on immigration.

But in his letter Oelrich wrote, “Perry, let’s show leadership and respect for our community that we love so much and end this spirited campaign on a very positive note.”

McGriff wrote back later in the afternoon, “I will agree to close the campaign on a positive note, if you are willing to come clean and publicly recant and denounce the lies that have been said about me during this campaign.”

One of the claimed lies McGriff was referring to was a mailer sent out by Oelrich’s campaign that said, “McGriff voted against more than $50 million dollars in funding for health care for abused and neglected children.”

In reality, McGriff voted against the Florida budget, not on particular line items in the budget like funding for abused and neglected children, said Jason Roth, McGriff’s campaign manager. 

“McGriff voted against the budget because it was filled with special interest pork, and it included massive cuts to education and health care spending,” Roth said. 

But David Wolfson, of OSI Research & Consulting and a political consultant for Oelrich, said McGriff is the one who needs to apologize for the negative ads.

“We ran our campaign on the candidate’s record,” Wolfson said. “Perry McGriff started these negative ads and refuses to take them down.”

Oelrich responded to McGriff’s letter on Friday and wrote, “I am in receipt of your letter refusing to end your negative campaign and issuing yet more personal attacks.”

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Oelrich’s letter goes on further and says, “In a show of good faith, I have unilaterally suspended all television advertisements you may refer to as negative.”

But Roth said it’s nothing more than a political stunt.

He believes McGriff is doing what’s right for the community by running for Senate.

“Lying is not a quality that people of District 14 want or deserve in their state senator,” Roth said.

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