DeSantis objects to photo used in mailer supporting Miami-Dade School Board member

Miami Herald | By News Service of Florida | July 26, 2022

A lawyer for Gov. Ron DeSantis is demanding that a political committee backing a Miami-Dade County school board candidate stop using the governor’s image on advertisements, as DeSantis has endorsed a different candidate in the race.

A mail piece pitches Marta Perez, who is running for the District 8 seat on the school board, as a “solid conservative voice.” But the advertisement crossed DeSantis as it featured a photo depicting Perez side-by-side with the governor and another small image of the governor giving a thumbs-up.

The advertisement also featured a photo of Perez with former Gov. Jeb Bush and a picture of former President Ronald Reagan.

The law firm Shutts & Bowen LLP, which represents DeSantis and his political committee, on Monday sent a cease-and-desist letter to Christian Camara, chairman of the political committee Parents United for School Excellence, which paid for the mailer. Ben Gibson, a partner with the Shutts & Bowen firm who also is a member of the State Board of Education, wrote in the letter that it is “no secret” that DeSantis has endorsed “pro-parent” school board candidate Monica Colluci.

“The political committee’s unauthorized use of a picture of Governor DeSantis and Ms. Perez in the attached mailer creates a false and misleading impression that Governor DeSantis has endorsed and is supportive of Ms. Perez’s candidacy for Miami-Dade County School Board — both are false,” Gibson wrote.

Gibson demanded in the letter that Parents United for School Excellence remove DeSantis’ image from all mailers endorsing Perez and that it stop using the governor’s name, image and likeness on campaign, advertising and fundraising materials. The letter said Colluci was “among the first” school board candidates that DeSantis endorsed this election cycle, as the governor has backed a slate of more than 25 candidates across the state who align with his education agenda.

Miami-Dade County School Board Member Marta Pérez is seen at the school board Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Miami. Sydney Walsh
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