JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the last couple of months, Jacksonville television has been saturated with commercials from a political action committee supporting Mayor Lenny Curry that attacked City Councilwoman Anna Brosche. Starting now, Brosche's campaign is striking back with an attack ad of its own.
The 30-second spot out Wednesday plays sounds of gunfire and children crying as graphics show Curry's photo and flash alarming headlines about crime in Jacksonville.
Brosche, a fellow Republican who is considered the strongest challenger to Curry's re-election in a four-candidate field, is head of the political committee behind the new ad. There are no Democrats in the mayor's race.
Brosche defends the commercial that some will find disturbing.
"I don't want to sugarcoat what some of our families experience in Jacksonville and that is a reality for some families in Jacksonville," Brosche said Wednesday. "It may not be happening everywhere. It's happening more and more places in Jacksonville and it has to stop."
Brosche supporters have blamed Curry for an increase in violent crime since Curry took office and are using a #CurryCrimeWave hashtag. Curry has released Jacksonville Sheriff's Office statistics showing violent crime dropped slightly last year, but still higher than when he took office in 2015.
"The mayor took responsibility for crime," Brosche said. "He ran on crime. He blamed Mayor (Alvin) Brown for not resolving the crime problem that we have in Jacksonville four years ago. It's his responsibility."
Seeing the new ad, Curry's campaign manager, Tim Baker, fired back.
"Anna Brosche has been in office for the same term as Mayor Curry and she never filed a single bill dealing with public safety," Baker responded. "The sheriff has stated she never called him a single time. This ad is the most disgusting and exploitative thing I've ever seen. It's low, even for politics. Anna Brosche should be ashamed for campaigning in such disgusting way. The people of Jacksonville deserve better."