GOP Senate candidate sparks fury with campaign ad showing him shooting Biden, Pelosi and Mark Kelly

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Republican Senate candidate sparks fury with campaign ad showing him shooting at Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Mark Kelly - whose wife Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in 2011

  • A Republican candidate running for his party's nomination to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona this fall has sparked fury with a new Western-style ad
  • Ad shows Jim Lamon dressed as a sheriff, shooting at actors playing Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Kelly is married to Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot in the head at an event with constituents in 2011
  • 'DISGUSTING,' wrote the founder of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Sharon Watts
  • Lamon doubled down on ad, which will air in Arizona during the Super Bowl
  • Kelly's campaign has not commented on ad but Lamon's rivals for the GOP nomination criticized it 

By Emily Goodin, Senior U.S. Political Reporter

Published: 19:19 GMT, 11 February 2022 | Updated: 00:02 GMT, 12 February 2022

A Republican candidate running for his party's nomination to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona this fall has sparked fury with a new Western-style ad that shows him shooting various Democrats, including Kelly.

Jim Lamon said his ad - which features himself, dressed a sheriff and firing a gun at actors portraying Kelly, President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi - will air locally during the Super Bowl.

Kelly is the husband of Gabby Giffords, the former member of Congress who was shot in the head while greeting constituents at a Tucson grocery market in 2011. 

'DISGUSTING,' wrote the founder of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Shannon Watts on Twitter. 

A 30-second commercial for this year's Super Bowl costs $7million, but ads that air locally can cost less depending on what the broadcast network charges.

Republican Jim Lamon, running for nomination to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, has sparked fury with a new ad showing him shooting at Democrats 

In his ad, which will run in Arizona during the Super Bown, Jim Lamon shoots at actors playing (from left to right) Senator Mark Kelly, President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi

It's unclear how much Lamon has paid for the slot during Sunday's showdown between the LA Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.   

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered in the 2018 Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, said Lamon should remove the ad.

'This Monday will be 4 years since my daughter was murdered. I take commercials like this seriously,' Guttenberg tweeted. 'The boy who murdered my daughter was motivated by videos like this. @jim_lamon know what happened to @GabbyGiffords. You owe Gabby & @CaptMarkKelly an apology. Remove this!!!'

In the ad, actors playing the trio of Democrats are shown walking into an Old West style town, wearing cowboy hats and boots, carrying guns and having bandannas on the lower half of their faces. Captions - 'Shifty Kelly,' 'Crazy Face Pelosi,' and 'Old Joe' - make their identities clear.

Residents of the town complain to the trio about inflation, the border and gas prices as Lamon, dressed as a sheriff, enters the scene.

The actors then get into a shootout. Kelly is the husband of Gabby Giffords, the former member of Congress who was shot in the head while greeting constituents at a Tucson grocery market in 2011

'The good people of Arizona have had enough of you,' Lamon says. 'It's time for a showdown.'

The three Democrats draw their pistols. Lamon also draws his and shots their guns out of their hands. The ad ends with the three scurrying away.

In the wake of the criticism, Lamon doubled down

'Left wing snowflakes can't stand the fact that, for once, AZ will have a Senator who will shoot straight with them & stop cowering to Biden. Their feigned outrage over our new Super Bowl ad came right on cue - but I won't be backing down,' he tweeted.

Lamon, the founder of a solar company, is making his first run for public office and seeking to raise his profile in a crowded Republican primary, the winner of whom will run against Kelly in November.

Democratic Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona is married to Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot in the head at  a constituent event in 2011

The ad garnered many critics although Mark Kelly's campaign has not commented but Jim Lamon's Republican primary rivals have 

Kelly's campaign has not commented on the ad but Lamon's GOP primary opponents - Blake Masters, a venture capitalist; and Michael 'Mick' McGuire, the retired adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard - criticized it.

'Absurd and desperate,' Masters said in a statement to The Arizona Republic. 'Fits his campaign.' 

McGuire told the newspaper he thinks the ad will help fill Kelly's fundraising effort. He said the ad demonstrated 'poor judgment' by Lamon.

'Real violence and use of deadly force is no laughing matter,' McGuire said. 'Violence in America is real and it isn't funny. This ad shows poor judgment and isn't reflective of the values of the Second Amendment. This ad will do more to boost Mark Kelly's fundraising than help Republicans.'

The Arizona Senate race is considered a toss-up. 

Kelly won a special election in 2020 to fill the seat of the late Senator John McCain. He is running this year for a full term. 

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