A bevy of pistol-packing politicos are hoping to blast their way into office this year, posting campaign ads featuring the candidates as armed, aimed, and shooting.
It all started with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who used a scope-sighted, bolt-action hunting rifle to blow a hole through the Cap and Trade Bill in a 2010 campaign ad called "Dead Aim,"
but that was only the beginning.
This year, it seems like virtually every candidate is locked and loaded, and ready to shoot it out with their opponents.
Alison Lundergan Grimes,
the Democratic Kentucky secretary of state who’s running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, posted a Twitter ad which showed her aiming a rifle, and carried the message, "I welcome Sen. McConnell to come shoot with me at the range any day."
a Republican running for the Senate against incumbent Democrat Mark Begich, says, "Millions of dollars of negative ads are flooding into Alaska, paid for by Washington special interests. Pretty soon, you're going to want to do this to your TV," and opens fire with an automatic handgun, blowing holes in a television screen.
Joni Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, arrives at the range in her ad on a motorcycle, wearing leather and boots, and as her ad's voiceover says she "carries more than just lipstick in her purse," unloads a handgun downrange, putting every round into the bull's-eye.
"Once she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni's gonna unload, and one more thing, Joni doesn't miss much," the ad
Washington State University political science professor Travis Rideout told NPR,
"There's certainly that message that I'm one of you, I support gun rights. But there's also that message that I'm frustrated with what's going on in Washington, D.C., and there seems to be no one who can cut through that."
Democrat Will Brooke,
running for the U.S. House from Washington, triggered bullet after bullet from a handgun, a hunting rifle, and an AR-15 into a copy of the massive Obamacare act in an ad with little effect. Then he said, "Looks like we'll have to resort to more extreme measures to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with market-based solutions," and hurled the copy into a wood chipper.
Democratic consultant Karl Struble, who produced Manchin's ad, told NPR that firearm-themed ads won't work for everyone.
"It was authentic. It's who Joe is. I think you need to be sensitive when you talk about a firearm and how to use it. We wanted to make sure we were using it appropriately — that it wasn't interpreted that, in some way, condoning firearms to oppose something politically."
Perhaps the funniest political gun ad of all featured Estakio Beltran, running for Congress from Washington state. He lost, but not before posting a hilarious ad in which he says, "They call me a longshot. They say I can't win in the district. But what happens to an elephant who stands around doing nothing for too long?" He then blasts an elephant piñata into paper shreds, before riding off into the sunset on a burro, toting his shotgun.
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