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GOP anti-Trump group plans multimillion-dollar ad blitz in Florida

GOP anti-Trump group plans multimillion-dollar ad blitz in Florida
© BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

A Republican anti-Trump organization is reportedly preparing to spend millions running ads in Florida aimed at swaying moderates in the pivotal swing state.

The group, Republican Voters Against Trump, has assembled several veterans of ex-Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) presidential campaign, including director Mike Murphy. Murphy told The New York Times that the group’s research indicates numerous retired voters and suburbanites could be persuaded to vote for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE despite their histories of voting Republican.

“There are cracks in the wall, but they need a few good sledgehammer blows,” Murphy told the Times.

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The group’s strategists said they are focusing their attention on Florida as, unlike other swing states, a loss there would likely put an Electoral College victory out of Trump’s reach.

They also pointed to Florida’s diversity compared to Midwestern states, saying Trump appeals to racial grievances would be less effective there.

“It is no secret that Trump will use reckless and racially inflammatory language and grievance politics to try to rally his voters,” a memo from the group said, adding, “Unlike those states, with large majority white populations, Florida’s electorate is far more diverse.”

Murphy said the plans for the campaign include a mix of television and digital advertising, as well as some radio and direct-mail campaigning. The group plans to begin running the ads after Labor Day, Murphy said.

“What we are going to do is go right at the suburbanites and surround them,” he told the Times.

The group has previously run ads featuring Miles Taylor, the onetime chief of staff to then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenJudge says acting DHS secretary appointment unlawful, invalidates DACA suspension Biden's hard stand on foreign election interference signals funding fight The 'Anonymous' saga ended with a dud — a perfect example of the problem of Trump-era media MORE. In the ad, Taylor claims Trump had offered pardons to Department of Homeland Security personnel who carried out illegal orders. Taylor has also suggested that officials within the Trump administration were concerned about the president’s “mental acuity” and that he “can’t keep his mind on” homeland security matters.