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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Baker revises controversial radio ad, Rick Kriseman's campaign says former mayor is "dishonest" and "desperate"

Mayor Rick Kriseman says former mayor Rick Baker is dishonest and desperate for airing a radio ad that has since been revised

Lara Cerri, Eve Edelheit (2017)

Mayor Rick Kriseman says former mayor Rick Baker is dishonest and desperate for airing a radio ad that has since been revised



Rick Baker’s campaign has revised a controversial radio ad that had incorrectly stated Mayor Rick Kriseman hadn’t “bothered to show up” at a NAACP event earlier this month.

Kriseman had shown up, staying for about 15 minutes. His campaign blasted Baker Thursday, saying local radio stations had pulled the ad after a Tampa Bay Times story confirmed Kriseman had been at the Oct. 7 event.

The new ad, still narrated by civil rights activist Sevell Brown, now says: “And Kriseman just insulted the NAACP.”  Seamless Florida, a political-action committee supporting Baker produced and paid for the ad. 

Listen to it here.

Kriseman didn’t confirm he would attend the event prior to his arrival, which angered chapter president Maria Scruggs, who said it was disrepectful. Baker stayed for the entire 90-minute event, she said.

Kriseman’s campaign said the original ad was an intentional smear.

"Rick Baker knowingly lied to voters. It's a desperate move by a flailing campaign. We are disappointed, but not surprised, that desperate Rick Baker is willing to do anything—even lie—to get elected. Dishonesty seems to be a trait that Rick Baker and Donald Trump share,” read a statement from Kriseman’s campaign manager Jacob Smith.

Baker’s campaign said the ad hadn’t been pulled. They decided to revise it on their own.

“We decided let’s not fuss with it, let’s clarify the ad,” said Brigitta Shouppe, Baker’s campaign spokeswoman. “Our revised version was sent to the buyer last night at 5:35pm because we proactively decided to we wanted the spot to be abundantly clear just how insulted the NAACPs leadership was at Rick Kriseman's pop-in. According to our buyer, at no time did they receive a phone, email or smoke signal asking for the spot to be taken down.”

The station manager at WBTP, 95.7 The Beat, an R&B and hip-hop station, couldn’t immediately confirm if the ad had been pulled or voluntarily revised. But the Kriseman campaign released an email string from IHeart radio executives stating the ad had been pulled.

The increasingly nasty mayoral race is fighting for every black vote, a voting segment seen as crucial to winning a race decided by just 70 votes on the Aug. 29 primary.  Kriseman eked out a narrow victory, but Baker won a few hundred more voters in the predominantly black neighborhoods of Midtown and Childs Park. 


[Last modified: Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:00pm]


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