ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran recently made headlines with a controversial immigration ad.

Many criticized it as racist.

In it, an illegal immigrant shoots a woman walking down the street. It draws from the story of Kate Steinle, who was killed in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant.

The ad is likely to come up as Corcoran, who has yet to announce his gubernatorial bid, debates Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for governor, on Tuesday.

The 8 p.m. debate will be live-streamed on the candidates' Facebook pages (Corcoran, Gillum), and by Florida Internet and TV.

Ad reaction

James Stratton thought the ad was fair.

“I didn't remember the guy even being dark-skinned, I remember the guy being sinister,” he said. “They twisted it and when I say they, it's the people on the dark side to me, the leftists.”

Stratton, founder of the Tampa Bay Trump Club, said the immigration debate should focus on illegal immigrants, not those who properly apply to become citizens.

“If they were at the store, they'd probably start pounding on someone that tried to jump in line in front of them,” he said. “But, for some reason they believe someone coming in to the country illegally is okay. Because they don't see it as the same thing. I see it's the same thing. They're line jumpers.”

Stratton's daughter was engaged to an illegal immigrant from Peru.

Stratton suggested they go to an immigration attorney, who helped her fiancé become a citizen.

“He didn't commit any crimes, he didn't do anything wrong," he said. "He went and he pleaded his case and there was a system and a process in place for that."

Corcoran, in the ad, makes his stance on sanctuary cities very clear.

“On my watch, Florida will never be a sanctuary state,” he said.

Immigration attorney David Linesch thought the ad was disrespectful.

“I was shocked by it and just so disappointed," he said. "It's so discriminatory and racist."

Pamela Gomez with the Florida Immigration Coalition believes the problem with the legal immigration process is cost.

“There's no process for a lot of folks to be legalized in this country," she said.

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