Representative Steve Southerland (R-FL), like fellow Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, is in a tight race for reelection against a woman Democratic opponent. Also like McConnell he has been less than honest in touting his vote for the Violence Against Women Act, claiming that he voted for it when in fact he voted against the version which President Obama signed into law.
The bill that Southerland voted for was the House bill which did not include coverage for the LGBT community, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants. When the Senate bill which passed with strong bipartisan support came to the House floor, he joined 137 other GOP members in voting against it, which all 199 Democrats joined by 87 Republicans passed.
It is not surprising that Southerland is using deception at this point in the race, he had pinned his early hopes on running against Obamacare and with support among the public growing now that people are seeing that the law was not the disaster that Republicans had predicted he needed to find another issue to run on.
A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in Florida’s 2nd district found that he is trailing opponent Gwen Graham, the daughter of former Florida governor and Senator Bob Graham, by 44 to 41 percent. The poll also found that he has only a 39 percent approval rating with a 41 percent unfavorable rate. His job approval rating is 36 percent while 42 percent disapprove of his job performance.
This misrepresentation is not new to Southerland in an April press release he wrote:
“I am proud to have voted for a five-year extension of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes measures to reduce rape kit backlogs, strengthen penalties for assault and improve the federal stalking statute.”
Graham’s campaign manager Julia Gill Woodward said of the ad:
“Here’s another sad example of how Congressman Steve Southerland’s Washington politics are out of touch with our North Florida’s values: he’s not telling the truth about his vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. It’s truly disturbing that Congressman Southerland would try and play these sorts of dishonest politics on an issue as serious as domestic violence, but that’s exactly what North Floridians hate about this messed up Congress.”
You can view Representative Southerland’s misleading ad below.