Daniel Perez unveiled his first Spanish language ad attacking his opponent Jose Mallea in the race for Florida’s 116th House District on Thursday.
The 30-second clip, shared exclusively with Sunshine State News, focuses on Jose Mallea’s relationship with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, pointing out an apparent “betrayal” of the Cuban-American senator who ran for President last year.
“Mallea says he is a friend of Marco Rubio,” the ad begins. “But when he had the opportunity to elect one of our own to the White House, Jose Mallea chose to spend millions of dollars in false attack ads against Marco Rubio.”
The ad then goes on to say Mallea has received money from outside special interests to run in the district, where he does not actually reside.
“Now, he has received thousands of dollars from special interests to run in a district he doesn’t live in,” the narrator continues.
“Mallea betrayed Marco Rubio, Mallea betrayed us," the ad says. "Say no to Jose Mallea.”
Mallea has been a longtime friend of Rubio’s and managed his 2010 Senate campaign, but later switched tracks and worked as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Hispanic Outreach director for his failed 2016 presidential campaign.
According to a poll released last week, Perez has a large lead over the Republican insider.
The poll found voters would select lawyer Daniel Perez over Miami-Dade Republican Jose Mallea by a 24 percent margin, with 37 percent saying they support Perez while 13 percent would vote for Mallea.
When voters were given both positive and negative statements about the two candidates, including their personal backgrounds, issue positions and list of endorsements, Mallea’s lead decreased while Perez’s lead increased to 50 percent.
The two Republicans will face off July 25 in the primary to replace Jose “Pepi” Felix Diaz, who is resigning from the Florida House to run for the Florida Senate to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles, who resigned in April after hurling racially-tinged and sexist insults at a black lawmaker.
Despite Perez’s lead in the poll, which his team commissioned, Mallea still leads Perez in the money chase. Just last month, the well-connected GOP insider raised over $50,000 for his campaign, ending the month with $88,000 cash on hand.
Perez, meanwhile, raised $33,000 during the same time, ending the fundraising period with $40,000 in his campaign warchest.
High-profile Florida politicians have thrown their names in the ring for Mallea, including Bush and former House Speaker Will Weatherford, who both say he is the best-equipped for the job.
Perez, on the other hand, is a newcomer to politics. He works as an attorney and is a first-time candidate for the House of Representatives. He made headlines last month after taking engagement photos in Cuba, a hot-button issue for some Miami Republicans.
Hillary Clinton carried the district last November, but HD116 is susceptible to ticket-splitting, with Republicans like Diaz handily winning elections each cycle.
View the ad below: