Alexis Calatayud comes out with ‘sick’ hit ad vs Janelle Perez in FL senate race

For weeks, the two relatively unknown candidates in the state Senate District 38 race have been playing footsies with each other. A barrage of mail pieces from both camps focus on their promises — accessible health care, improved education, environmental protections, jobs and the American Dream, blah, blah, blah.

But this week, voters in the district started seeing another side of Republican Alexis Calatayud, who came out with a negative hit piece against Democrat Janelle Perez. Text messages were linked to a video that has also been aired on local TV, all paid for by the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee.

“There’s an important fact Janelle Perez does not share. Her healthcare insurance business profits more by rejecting claims for seniors’ medical care. The elderly get less. Perez gets more,” says the voiceover on the 30-second spot, which is also produced in Spanish and found on YouTube.

“Trust fund millionaire, luxury cars, mansion,” the angry woman voice says as a photoshopped image of Perez and her wife stand before luxury cars and mansions. “Now Perez wants more — a seat in the Florida Senate.

Read related: Janelle Perez moves from Congressional bid to Florida senate District 38 race

“Janelle Perez denying payments to seniors for needed care. We get sick. Perez gets rich.”

It’s pretty ugly.

“It is misleading and completely false,” Perez told Ladra late Thursday. “She does not know how to read a financial report.”

Well, maybe if a $4.5 million house is not a mansion, then she doesn’t know how to read financial disclosure. But that is an asset listed on Perez’s documents filed with the Florida Division of Elections, where she lists her net wort at $3.7 million.

“My opponent has no solutions and so she needs to make up lies,” the trust fund baby said.

What her opponent does have is plenty of baggage of her own. And now that she’s drawn blood, the Perez camp can come back and hit Calatayud, too.

Calatayud is the daughter of Antonio “Tony” Calatayud, a well known Cuban exile activist and Miami Cuban radio guy who was arrested in 2014 on charges of fraud and racketeering. He was arrested in relation to a ring of fraudsters that aimed to buy distressed real estate that allegedly bilked the buyers of at least $1 million.

The state attorney abandoned the case in 2018, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. And Ladra expects the “like father, like daughter” mail pieces any day now.

In fact, attacks all around will increase as absentee or mail-in ballots go out next week.

In this race, Calatayud — who served as chief of staff to Republican State Rep. Vance Aloupis — has raised a little over $261,000 in her campaign account, according to the most recent financial reports. After spending more than $156,000 — including $84,000 from Sept. 10 to the 23rd — she has almost $105,000 in hand. But she is collecting contributions faster than ever, with more than $97,000 in checks from Aug. 27 through Sept. 23.

Also, the Republican Party’s paying for a lot of her ads, as well as polling and campaign staff, so she has much more.

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Sidebar: Calatayud has been in Political Cortadito before, as president of the student government association at Florida International University trying to get the university’s expansion plans approved.

Perez is keeping pace with almost $240,000 raised for her campaign account and has $127,000 in hand after spending just over $112K. She raised more than $57,000 from Aug. 27 to Sept. 23. The Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is paying for some of her mail pieces and the Florida Democratic Party provides her with staff and consulting.

She also has Christian Ulvert as her consultant, and his political action committee, Democracy and Freedom, has raised $580,200 since 2021.