Truth be Told: Positive campaign ads hit the airwaves

In the race for the U.S. Senate, the candidates are out with ads highlighting their achievements.
Truth be told
Posted at 4:12 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 19:13:14-04

A turn to the positive side for both Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Val Demings in their latest campaign ads.

While we often see negative ads this time of year, in the race for the U.S. Senate, Rubio and Demings are out with new TV ads highlighting what they claim are their achievements.

As part of our election coverage, Fox 4 Investigates continues to put these ads to the truth test.

In the Demings ad, which refers to her as Chief Val Demings, it highlights her 27 years with the Orlando Police Department, including her last four as Chief.

“Crime is down 40%,” the ad claims.

That’s not exactly true, but it’s close.

To check this, Fox 4 Investigates dug through the crime numbers with the FBI.

In 2007, Demings’ first year as police chief, there were 4,269 violent crimes in Orlando.

By 2011, her last year in office, there were 2,591 reports of violent crimes.

That’s a drop of 39.3%.

So not exactly 40% but close.

By 2012, the crime rate had dropped more than 40%.

That’s the only fact laid out in the ad.

However, it does end with a final statement from Demings.

“In the Senate, I’ll protect Florida from bad ideas. Like defunding the police, that’s just crazy,” Demings says in the ad.

Defunding the police is a claim the Rubio campaign has tried to tie to Demings in their previous ads.

“She called abolishing the police, ‘thoughtful,’” the ad claims.

Our previous truth test found that claim to be false.

The quote comes from a June 2020 interview with CBS This Morning.

Demings was asked about a proposal in front of the Minneapolis City Council which would have dismantled and replaced the police department with a new Public Safety Department.

She never encouraged defunding the police.

Rubio’s newest ad shows three food service workers talking about the Paycheck Protection Program, a COVID rescue measure that allowed small businesses to borrow forgivable loans to keep workers on the payroll.

Rubio co-sponsored PPP legislation in the early days of the pandemic.

“So, when our boss came to us about the PPP program Senator Rubio was gonna help us. We were all very excited,” says one of the food service workers in the ad.

The ad claims PPP saved up to 13 million American jobs.

That’s true, according to two economists with the federal reserve who estimated that nearly 13 million jobs were saved.

Though, it’s important to point out that’s just an estimate and other economists have thrown out other figures.

Demings voted for all covid rescue bills that included PPP loans.

Meanwhile, Rubio voted against the President’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill that included additional small business loans.

At the time, Rubio claimed he supported additional relief for small businesses, but called the bill a “trojan horse to begin a radical restructuring of the nation.”