With about a week left to vote, the Democratic group House Majority PAC has gone on the Tucson airwaves with a television ad that includes a clip of veteran Jesse Kelly (R) personally attacking then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in the 2010 campaign.
The ad is backed by a six-figure buy. Kelly is running against former Giffords aide Ron Barber in the 8th district special election to replace the former Congresswoman, who resigned earlier this year to focus on recovering from being shot.
The ad comes one day after it was announced that Giffords will appear at a “Get Out the Vote Concert and Rally” to support Barber ahead of next week’s special election. Saturday’s event at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson will include artists such as Salvador Duran and the Kevin Pakulis Band.
“… And now she stands there with that smile and pretends to be some kind of hometown hero,” Kelly says in a grainy clip. “She’s a hero of nothing.”
While Kelly’s comments fit with the angry national tone of the 2010 campaign, the world has changed since then in Tucson.
After a shooter went on a rampage in the Safeway parking lot and seriously injured Giffords, she has become an icon in Tucson. It is nearly impossible to find a voter who will speak ill of her now.
Kelly is presenting himself very differently on the trail now. The outward anger is gone, as are personal references to his opponent. Instead, he narrowly focuses on talking points.
The ad also includes a montage of other Kelly clips from 2010 that have surfaced at other points in the campaign. The Kelly campaign has been defensive of the tactic, accusing Democrats of taking Kelly’s comments out of context.
In this new ad, both the graphics and the narrator make clear that Kelly’s comments were from two years ago. And House Majority PAC’s press release includes nearly five minutes of footage around the Kelly clip.