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'Political hitman' gunning for Ros-Lehtinen seat shows lighter side in campaign commercial


Stephen Marks, a veteran campaign operative who 10 years ago published a book on his exploits as a “political hitman” for the Republican Party, is showing a lighter side of himself in a new commercial as he runs for the party’s nomination to replace Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Congress.

Marks, the first to go on air in the Republican primary for Florida’s 27th congressional district, explains in a 60-second ad that he decided to run after his parents recently died. His father died as a result of “malicious” medical malpractice, he says, and his mother soon after following a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’m running for Congress because they both just died from our government’s policies that makes the lives of senior citizens worthless,” Marks says in the ad, which begins with a shot of him playing dominoes with seniors at Maximo Gomez Park off Calle Ocho.

Marks says his family was unable to sue after his father died due to laws that devalue the lives of senior citizens because they’re past their “prime earnings years.” And he blames the country’s “pathetic” funding of Alzheimer’s research for his mother’s death.

The ad, which began airing a week ago in English and Spanish and will continue running this week, is the first on TV in the primary. It’s a crowded field, also featuring Elizabeth Adadi, Bruno Barreiro, Angie Chirino, Michael Ohevzion, Maria Peiro, Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, Maria Elvira Salazar and Gina Sosa.

Marks, of Coral Gables, loaned his campaign $200,000 last month. His campaign says his aim “is to have Florida’s 27th Congressional district lead the fight across America for all seniors.”   

“I promise when elected,” Marks says in the ad, “to pass legislation never before proposed that makes the lives of senior citizens just as valuable as any other life.”