Domestic energy production has been a priority of House Republicans, especially as Saudi Arabia announced cutting oil exports starting in July. Although the Lower Energy Costs Act passed the House in March, it did so with little Democratic support. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has singled out Florida Representative Darren Soto (D) for his vote against the bill.
"As Americans prepare to hit the road for summer vacations, Saudi Arabia announced it's set to slash oil production and send gas prices skyrocketing. They can thank Darren Soto for the hit to their pocketbook," said a mailer released by the NRCC.
NRCC spokeswoman Delanie Bomar also accused Rep. Soto of siding "with extreme environmentalists to inflict pain at the pump."
"Americans can thank extreme Democrat Darren Soto for surging gas prices. Instead of working to unleash energy production and bring down gas prices for Floridians, Soto sided with extreme environmentalists to inflict pain at the pump," added Bomar.
However, all of Florida's Democrats in the House voted against the Lower Energy Costs Act, yet only Soto is the subject of attack.
Why, you may ask?
Soto's Congressional seat is considered vulnerable in 2024.
During the 2022 midterms, Soto defeated his Republican opponent Scotty Moore by 7 points, just under 54% to Moore's 46%. That's a pretty slim lead. One that Republicans are cashing in on by targeting Soto and other Democrats around the country with similarly narrow victories.
In April, NRCC Chair Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) spoke of the Republican Party's efforts to maintain their offensive now that they are in the majority.
"Republicans are in the majority and on offense. We will grow our House majority by building strong campaigns around talented recruits in these districts who can communicate the dangers of Democrats’ extreme agenda," West Orlando News quoted Rep. Hudson.
Hence why in May, the NRCC released an ad accusing Democrats of being "addicted" to spending taxpayer money ahead of the debt ceiling negotiations. Soto can be spotted in the ad twice.