American Leadership Action, a super PAC aligned with Pennsylvania GOP Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, launched an ad campaign to target his Democrat rival, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, for a 2013 incident in which he grabbed a shotgun and chased a Black jogger he had wrongly believed was involved in a shooting incident.
The $500,000 ad buy will appear only on stations in Philadelphia and will air on news channels such as MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News as well as other cable networks, the The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.
In the ad, which started running on Tuesday, the voice-over says Fetterman "chased down an innocent, unarmed Black man."
The incident occurred in 2013 when Fetterman was the mayor of Braddock, Pa., a city in the western part of the state.
Fetterman said at the time that he heard shots near his home and that after rushing his then-4-year-old son into the house and calling the police, he got in his truck and chased the man. He then held the man there, confronting him with a 20-gauge shotgun, until police arrived.
In the advertisement, footage of the jogger, Christopher Miyares, who was not involved in the shooting, says Fetterman pointed his gun at his chest, which Fetterman denies.
Fetterman has refused to apologize for the incident and said he was acting in his capacity as his city's chief law enforcement official while responding to a "chaotic" situation.
He was attacked over the issue while seeking the Democrat nomination, but those opponents didn't air ads against him over it.
Instead, his competition, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, of Philadelphia, demanded he apologize and warned that the matter could hurt their party's chances in the November election.
But with the targeted ad buys in Philadelphia, which has a large Black and Democrat population, the super PAC is focusing on specific demographics, according to Chris Nicholas, a Republican consultant in Harrisburg.
He also criticized Fetterman's response to the controversy as being "flat-footed," and "poorly delivered."
Fetterman's campaign, meanwhile, has responded to the ad through state Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Democrat from Philadelphia, who slammed Oz as an "out-of-touch millionaire who has no idea about the issues that are facing Black voters," Hughes said.
"While Oz spends his time in his mansions in New Jersey, John Fetterman was the three-term mayor of Braddock, a majority Black town, and has worked hand in hand with the Black community for years. Black voters are excited to vote for John because of his long record, and because they know he will fight for them in Washington."
Oz will not need to swing Democrats in Philadelphia to support him, but slowing the city's turnout for Fetterman could help him win the tight Senate race, the newspaper notes.
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