Manatee County land developer Carlos Beruff is far from giving up the fight in his campaign against fellow Republican and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Amid inaccurate reports that Beruff was waving a white flag and no longer running television ads, Beruff launched a new ad that slams Rubio as "self-serving" and a "political opportunist" like Rubio's longtime political nemisis Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor turned Democrat.
In the ad, a narrator compares the mouth, eyes and heart of Rubio and Crist and concludes they are "virtually identical."
It's a bid of a role reversal. Since June, Rubio's allies have sought to label Beruff a Charlie Crist Republican, a phrase that is nearly a curse word in GOP circles. Beruff used dozens of business holdings to give to Crist when he was a Republican running for governor and then as a U.S. Senate candidate while Crist was still a Republican. Crist later appointed Beruff to three different political boards in southwest Florida.
Rubio's campaign responded to the new ad on script Monday, mentioning Crist by name five times in four sentences.
"Carlos Beruff is a Charlie Crist insider with a record to prove it," Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens said. "He was a Crist appointee, he and his companies gave over 30 times to Crist, and when Crist abandoned the Republican Party, Beruff continued to support him. With a record like that, Carlos Beruff's ad today is nothing more than a desperate attempt to fool Floridians. Marco is proud to have taken on Charlie Crist and won, saving Florida from the phony politician that Beruff stood by."