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How Hurricane Michael could impact Florida politics

Posted at 6:57 AM, Oct 11, 2018

As Florida begins to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the political campaigns of major candidates in Florida are officially on hold.

But political ads continued to run on TV even as many Floridians were running for their lives.

One attack ad in particular, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, was on air criticizing the way Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum handled the city's response to Hurricane Hermine back in 2016.

The ad, made in coordination with Republican candidate for Governor Ron Desantis, aired frequently in the days leading up to the storm and was only pulled after Desantis was questioned about it, and the GOP said they would eventually pull it from the airwaves amid criticism from viewers and even state officials.



"Attack ads" have long been considered to be bad politics if a hurricane is battering the state, but Super PAC's were also running negative ads this week against Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson. 

The difference is that political campaigns can't tell the Super PAC's not to run ads.

Hurricane Michael Impacts Voter Registration

The hurricane is also affecting voter registration.

The last day to register to vote in Florida was the day before Hurricane Michael made landfall.

Now, the Democratic Party of Florida is suing to extend that deadline.

Florida's Secretary of State says election supervisors will accept paper applications on the day their offices re-open after the storm if they closed at all.

The Democratic Party of Florida contends that's not a long enough extension because people who fled the area might not be able to return in time.

It's unclear if the courts will extend the deadline, as requested by Democrats.

What's To Come

The natural disaster, and how recovery efforts are handled, could impact the future leadership of the state and could be a key feature in coming debates between the candidates.

CNN is scheduled to air a debate between Gillum and Desantis on Oct. 21. The network will also host a debate between Nelson and Scott on Oct. 16.