A Democratic congressional candidate in South Florida is releasing a new advertisement recounting the loss of her father to gun violence that will run during the March for Our Lives, a nationwide demonstration this weekend to demand an end to gun violence.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, whose father was shot and killed in Ecuador by an armed criminal, is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo in one of the country's most competitive districts. The district sits just to the south of Parkland, Florida, where a shooter killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. The shooting led a group of student survivors to call on Congress to pass stricter gun laws.
"October 18. To most it's just another day, but to me, it isn't. It's the day my father was shot and killed by a criminal with a gun. And because of that senseless act of violence, my family's life was never the same," Mucarsel-Powell says in the ad.
"In Congress, I won't rest until there's real change that keeps our families, our neighborhoods, and our schools safe. I owe that to everyone who has lost someone to gun violence," she adds.
The ad puts gun control front and center as an issue in a district Democrats view as a potential pick up in November. Mucarsel-Powell has previously criticized Curbelo for what she has characterized as talking tough on guns in the district but voting another way in Washington. Curbelo has said that he supports strengthening the background check system but also supports the Second Amendment.
CNN has rated the race a toss-up.
The $12,000 combined TV and digital ad buy will air over three days on cable networks leading up to the March for Our Lives and on Saturday, the day of the march. The march is being led by a group of students who survived the shooting in Parkland.
In a phone interview with CNN, Mucarsel-Powell said she has been inspired by the student organizers.
"As I've been watching these students, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg and others, speaking up, organizing, marching, I also decided that it's not right to let these kids do all of this on their own," Mucarsel-Powell told CNN. "I don't think that their voices will go away. I am completely committed to walking with them, speaking with them and standing alongside with them."
You can view the ad here: