PHOENIX — The intention was to get people to notice. On that score, Arizona candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Lamon succeeded.
Lamon's latest campaign ad, which first ran during the Super Bowl in Tucson and now is running on Phoenix television stations, has a lot of people talking.
In the ad, Lamon takes on "the D.C. Gang," telling them, "The good people of Arizona have had enough of you."
Actors play President Biden (labeled in the ad as "Old Joe"), Senator Mark Kelly ("Shifty Kelly") and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ("Crazyface Pelosi"). The clip shows Lamon shooting at the three, knocking their guns or knives out of their hands as people in the background cheer and the “D.C. Gang” runs away.
Political pollster Mike Noble of OH Predictive Insights sees the ad as a desperate attempt to get noticed. OH Predictive's recent poll of Arizona's Republican Senate race has Lamon below 10%.
"There is very little room with his 5% in the polling to zero. So, there's really nothing to lose by throwing these Hail Mary passes like you're seeing in this current ad," Noble said.
The ad is being widely criticized.
Brian Murray, a former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, called it pathetic. Shannon Watts, the Founder of Moms Demand Action, said it was "disgusting," reminding her Twitter followers Sen. Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Giffords was seriously wounded during a mass shooting in Tucson in 2011 when six people were killed. Mark Kelly's Senate campaign declined comment.
DISGUSTING: Former Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot and and seriously wounded 10 years ago. Her husband’s Republican US Senate opponent, @jim_lamon, just put out an ad in which he shoots Mark Kelly and other Democrat leaders. #AzSen pic.twitter.com/eoBIJH8ap0— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 10, 2022
"It's certainly not going to win awards for any intellectual substance. But that's not the point of the ad," said Stan Barnes, the president and founder of Copper State Consulting Group.
Barnes said Lamon's ad is all about getting noticed and being remembered.
"Name identification ends up being the gold standard to winning. An election ad like this brings name identification even if they're not talking about serious issues. They stick with the voter."
Lamon is spending a lot of money — about $1 million a month, according to federal campaign finance statements — to get his campaign noticed.
Next month, OH Predictive will conduct another poll on the Arizona Republican Senate primary race. We may learn then if the ad is "sticking" with voters.
In the meantime, Lamon took to Twitter to respond to the criticism, promising, "I won't back down."
ABC15 is hearing from viewers who have seen the ad and want us to stop running it.
Federal law requires broadcasters to accept candidates' political ads regardless of the content; television stations are not allowed to reject or censor them.