PHOENIX (AP) — A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Arizona came under fire Thursday for an Old West-style ad showing him pulling guns from President Joe Biden, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly and the President of the Nancy Pelosi room.
Critics said the ad by businessman Jim Lamon was irresponsible because it depicted violence against elected officials.
Lamon’s campaign released the ad Thursday and said it would air in the Tucson market during the Super Bowl. Lamon is leading a crowded GOP primary to take on Kelly, who was elected in 2020 to finish the last term of the late John McCain and is now running for a full six-year term.
The ad shows actors portraying Democratic officials arriving on the dusty street of a Wild West town armed with guns and wearing cowboy hats and bandanas over their faces. After a bystander shouts “It’s the DC gang”, Lamon, dressed as a sheriff, appears with Border Patrol union president Brandon Judd and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb.
Lamon tells Democratic officials that Arizonans have had enough of them and “it’s time for a showdown.” When the Democrats pull out guns, Lamon shoots them out of the hands, twirls his gun around his finger, sheaths it, and smiles.
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Critics from both parties lambasted the announcement.
“When you don’t have substance, I guess that’s what you resort to,” Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, wrote on Twitter. “It’s petty and dangerous and it’s beneath Arizona voters who deserve so much more.”
Rep. Eric Swallwell, a Democrat from California, said Republicans “have done everything to use violence as a route to power.”
Lamon’s spokesman, Stephen Puetz, responded to criticism of the announcement by saying, “Unlike Kelly, Jim Lamon will shoot directly with the Arizonans and lead the fight against Biden – and he certainly won’t let the left get the better of him. intimidate him into backing down.”
A spokeswoman for Kelly’s campaign, Sarah Guggenheimer, declined to comment.
Kelly’s wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was seriously injured in a shooting at a constituent event in 2011. The shooting led to a consideration of partisanship and violent language in politics.
This isn’t Lamon’s first brush with controversy in his political advertising. Last month he ran an ad saying “let’s go Brandon”, a rallying cry on the right that replaces an expletive against Biden.
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