GOP Senate candidate pulls a gun on Biden, Pelosi and Mark Kelly in campaign ad

Paul Ingram

Trailing in the polls in the Republican Senate primary in Arizona, candidate Jim Lamon is grabbing attention with a Western-themed campaign ad in which he is pictured aiming and firing a gun at the U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden. .

The 30-second ad was immediately criticized as people compared the cowboy ‘showdown’ played out in the live-action video of Kelly’s wife, former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was badly injured in an assassination attempt 11 years ago. which injured 18 and killed six, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

In the video, posted in multiple versions on Youtube and Twitter on Thursday and which the campaign says is set to air during the Super Bowl, former solar industry CEO Lamon wears leather chaps, boots and spurs, a white cowboy hat and vest with a six-pointed star pinned to it, and stands on a dusty street in opposition to the black-hatted “DC Gang” including “Old Joe”, “Shifty Kelly” and “Crazyface Pelosi “.

A host of actors, also dressed in Western attire, run through a litany of common Republican lines, voicing them with exaggerated cartoonish streaks. An actor, seated on a horse-drawn stagecoach, yells at the price of gasoline.

“The good people of Arizona have had enough of you. It’s time for a showdown,” Lamon says in his best drawling western, with a close-up showing a smirk.

The Democratic figures, their faces mostly blocked by handkerchiefs, pull out their guns – the actor playing Kelly drawing a gun, ‘Pelosi’ raising a large knife above his head and the president’s replacement brandishing a shotgun – and Lamon shoots disarming them each by shooting the guns out of their hands, sending them awkwardly running away.

In addition to Lamon, the ad also features Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb and Brandon Judd — head of the Border Patrol Agents Union who has regularly loaned himself out as a campaign surrogate, including an appearance in an ad for the Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Lamb and Judd were also outfitted with stereotypical western sheriff duds.

The ad caused a backlash online, as people linked Lamon’s ad to the violent attack on Giffords and demanded the contestant apologize.

Shannon Watts, founder of gun control group Moms Demand Action, called the ad “disgusting”. Meanwhile, a former Arizona Republican Party executive director, Brian Murray – who now champions one of Lamon’s rivals as a political consultant – called Lamon’s announcement “the most pathetic yet. “.

“I think when he loses he should start churning out used car commercials. He’s perfect for that, and he’s not a bull,” Murray wrote.

Kelly’s campaign declined to answer questions about the ad, writing in an email to simply, “We’ll pass on comments. Thank you.”

Last month, Lamon’s knowledge of Arizona was called into question when he misspelled the name of a major southern Arizona city as “Tuscon” in a tweet. He responded to Arizona Daily Star reporter Tim Steller, noting the gaffe, calling it “Mickey Mouse shit” and seemingly blocking others who tweeted about the mistake.

Thursday’s video isn’t the first time Lamon has posted a provocative ad as he tries to bolster his campaign.

In mid-January, he posted an ad titled “Let’s Go,” which included the phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon,” a shibboleth among Republicans that replaces “Fuck Joe Biden” among those reluctant to articulate that directly. feeling. This Lamon ad was rejected by Yahoo, which told its campaign that it would only accept the digital ad if it removed the phrase.

OH Predictive Insights polls show Lamon in the middle of the pack among five Republican candidates for senator, far behind Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and former Arizona National Guard Chief, Major General Michael McGuire.

Among Republicans, Brnovich remains the frontrunner, said OHPI chief pollster Mike Noble. However, that could change if Governor Doug Ducey enters the fray or if former President Donald Trump decides to back a candidate. “It now makes a lot of sense that Republican leaders are actively pursuing Ducey to run for the Arizona Senate contest,” Noble said.

“At the same time, Kelly must navigate a re-election campaign in a political environment where voters are channeling their frustrations with President Biden to other Democratic leaders and candidates,” Noble said. However, right now the freshman senator has a “narrow lead” against a generic Republican, with 42% when Republican polls are at 38%.

And, while most Republican and Democratic voters say they will support their party’s nominee, Noble said 35% of non-party “independent” voters don’t know how they plan to vote in the November election.

According to a poll of Republicans last month by OHPI, Lamon would get just 7% of the vote, far behind Brnovich who could get 25% of the vote, and McGuire who polls around 11%. That puts Lamon just ahead of Blake Masters darling Peter Thiel and Arizona Corporation Commission member Justin Olson.

Lamon’s campaign has also struggled to make progress with funding, having raised just over $556,000 in individual contributions. However, Lamon loaned his campaign $8 million, according to campaign finance reports. During that time, Brnovich raised about $1.7 million in individual contributions, while McGuire received about $662,000 in individual contributions and loaned his campaign $249,500.

Overall, Lamon has around $5.9 million in cash, far more than competitors due to his personal loans. In the meantime, Lamon profited from the sale of his company DEPCOM Power to Koch Industries for an undisclosed sum. Lamon claimed his business, a Scottsdale-based solar company, was worth around $1 billion, but it’s unclear how much of that sale landed in the former CEO’s pockets, giving him funds to inject into his campaign for new advertisements.

Lamon said his campaign would deny political action and “special interest” campaign funding.

Meanwhile, Kelly already has a war chest of nearly $27 million for her campaign, including more than $25 million in individual contributions.

As Lamon’s campaign founders, the former CEO also faces an investigation by the US House Select Committee, which is investigating the January 6, 2021 uprising at the US Capitol, when thousands of people protested. forced his way into the building to stop the Senate from counting Arizona’s votes. .

Lamon was also one of 11 Arizona Republicans who signed a document falsely claiming they were voters and could vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. While the ex-president lost Arizona by more than 10,000 votes, Lamon and 10 others signed the document and sent it by certified mail to the United States Senate claiming that they were the established voters.

Lamon defended the document as a contingency plan and that he was one of Arizona’s official voters if the election was void. “Republican voters presented a valid document that said if the election were void, there would be no excuse not to recognize those voters,” Lamon said. However, the document does not include such language and instead calls Lamon and the others the “duly elected and qualified voters” for the state.

As the Arizona Republic reported, while Ducey was certifying the results, Lamon and the others met at the Republican seat in Arizona and signed the document sending it to the U.S. Senate despite the lack of procedure. even allowing Arizona’s election results to be decertified based on lies that the Democrats somehow tampered with the election results to give Biden the margin of victory to become president.

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