Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will feature in a new radio ad for House District 116 hopeful and Republican insider Jose Mallea.
Mallea’s campaign team unveiled the radio spot Monday morning, which will be broadcast to voters in the South Florida district before the Republican primary next week.
In the clip, Bush lauds Mallea’s conservative virtues as part of the reason voters should choose him over attorney Daniel Perez in the special election to replace Rep. Jose “Pepi” Felix Diaz.
“This is Jeb Bush,” Bush says in the ad. “Jose Mallea is a trusted friend that's going to defend us. Jose will use his Republican values to work for you in the Florida Legislature.”
Mallea, a well-connected GOP operative who has jumped from campaign to campaign over the years, worked as a senior adviser for Hispanic outreach on Bush’s presidential campaign last year.
Bush previously endorsed Mallea in the race for the Republican nomination, which has been bitter and divided from the start.
The former Florida governor said there was “no question” Mallea was the best option to lead the GOP in HD116.
"Jose has an inspiring personal story of working hard to achieve success in both business and public service, and now wants to ensure that same American dream is attainable for everyone, not just a select few,” said Bush in his endorsement. “I know that Jose will effectively put his conservative principles and leadership skills to work in Tallahassee for the community he loves and for our great state."
Mallea said he was “honored” to have Bush hop on in the radio ad, but added the work was far from over as the days wind down until the special primary.
“I plan to keep working hard in the home stretch of this primary to make sure District 116 has a representative in Tallahassee who will work hard for conservative policies that will improve education and increase opportunity for everyone,” Mallea said.
Bush isn’t the only big name in Florida politics to wade into the Republican primary.
Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio found himself in the throes of the contentious campaign between Mallea and Perez when Mallea used a photo of him in a direct mail piece sent to voters in HD116.
In the photo, Mallea stands side-by-side with Rubio and Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
The men smile in the shot, which is juxtaposed with a blurb explaining a little bit about Mallea’s political insider past.
“Jose Mallea has dedicated his life to championing the conservative values we hold dear,” the mailer reads. “He served as an aide to President George W. Bush in the White House, Senior Advisor to Gov. Jeb Bush and Campaign Manager for Senator Marco Rubio in 2010.”
Rubio, however, was less than thrilled over the use of his photo in the mailer since it implied he may have taken sides in the race.
"Sen. Rubio did not see the mailer before it was sent, and he was never asked to approve the use of his name and picture,'' said Olivia Perez-Cubas, Rubio spokesperson, to the Miami Herald.
The special election will be held next Tuesday, July 25. The winner of the special election primary will face off against Democrat Gabriele Mayaudon in a general election Sept. 26.