The Tampa Bay Times reported that Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis issued a false fundraising press release. Bilirakis falsely claimed to have a level of local support from individuals that is belied by the facts. In reality, Bilirakis has taken massive sums of money from out-of-state special interest PACs. Among the special interest PACs Bilirakis took money from are those associated with the pharmaceutical industry that contributed to the opioid public health crisis. As the Tampa Bay Times reported,
The leading Democrat challenging Bilirakis, former federal prosecutor and FBI agent Chris Hunter, said Bilirakis doing "the bidding of the opioid industry lobbyists who give him campaign money," is one issue that pushed him to quit his job as a prosecutor with the fraud section of the Department of Justice in Tampa to run for office.
While with the DOJ, Hunter led the investigation and prosecution last year of the owner and associates of A to Z Pharmacy of New Port Richey, which generated more than $100 million from a compounding pharmacy fraud scheme.