When all the counting was over in the race for the State House District 15 seat, all of three votes separated Republicans Paul Renner and Jay Fant. News4Jax’s political analyst Jennifer Carroll said without a doubt, negative ads played a huge role.
“Fant was ahead over 20 percentage points. Renner came in and hit Fant hard with negative ads. That weighs in on people and that makes them make a decision that may not be the best for them, but it weighs on them to react in a certain way,” said Carroll.
But if negative ads were a factor in tightening the race, neither candidate would admit it.
"I have no idea. I really don't. I have no idea what's in the mind of the voters, but it looks like we continued to gather momentum through the race,” said Renner.
“I am not surprised because this is a race about a lot of differentiation. And that tends to split voters pretty easily. We worked so hard and whatever the outcome is that's the outcome,” said Fant.
While she admits they won't go away, Carroll thinks voters will get tired of attack ads and she recommends they make an effort to get past all the negativity.
“Call the candidates or the person putting it out and saying, where did you get this information? I want the full context of that tape; I want the whole written element of whatever it is you're gathering your information from now on, so I can make my own decision. Don't base your vote on the negative ads you're hearing,” said Carroll.
Carroll also said now that race for governor is officially down to two, you can expect to see both of those candidates turn things up a notch as well.
“I believe now, we haven't really seen Charlie Crist in a go-at-it attack against Governor Scott. Now that everything is cleared up with the primary and we know who will be running against whom in the
November election, I think we'll see more from Governor Scott's arsenal and more from Charlie Crist's arsenal,” said Carroll.