A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona took heat Thursday for an Old West-style ad showing him shooting weapons out of the hands of President Joe Biden, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Critics said the ad by businessman Jim Lamon was irresponsible as it depicts violence against elected officials.
Lamon’s campaign released the ad Thursday and said it will air in the Tucson market during the Super Bowl. Lamon is running a crowded GOP primary to take on Kelly, who was elected in 2020 to finish the late John McCain’s last term and is now running for a full six-year term.
The ad shows actors portraying the Democratic officials arriving on the dusty street of an Old West town armed with weapons and wearing cowboy hats and bandanas over their faces. After an onlooker shouts, “It’s the D.C. gang,” Lamon, dressed as the sheriff, appears along with Border Patrol union president Brandon Judd and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb.
Lamon tells the Democratic officials that Arizonans have had enough of them and “it’s time for a showdown.” When the Democrats draw weapons, Lamon shoots them out of their hands, spins his revolver around his finger, holsters it, and smiles.
Critics from both parties blasted the ad.
“When you don’t have substance, I guess this is what you resort to,” Stephanie Grisham, a White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, wrote on Twitter. “It’s petty & dangerous & it’s beneath Arizona voters who deserve so much more.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, said Republicans have “gone all-in on using violence as a path to power.”
Lamon spokesperson Stephen Puetz responded to criticism of the ad by saying: “Unlike Kelly, Jim Lamon will shoot straight with Arizonans and take the fight to Biden — and he damn sure won’t let the left bully him into backing down.”
A spokesperson for Kelly’s campaign, Sarah Guggenheimer, declined to comment.
Kelly’s wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was critically wounded in a shooting at a constituent event in 2011. The shooting led to a reckoning over 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 is a stand-in for an expletive against Biden.
Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.