Brian Kemp's Gun Ad Has The Georgia Republican Pointing A Rifle At A Teen (It's Sexist, Too)
This conservative candidate is not shy about his love for guns and the Second Amendment. In a recently released campaign ad, Brian Kemp pointed a gun at a teenager who, in the ad's fabricated story line, was there to try and date one of Kemp's daughters. The controversial ad has brought national publicity to the Georgia candidate's gubernatorial race.
Surrounded by a plethora of rifles, Kemp is seated in an armchair next to "Jake," the flannel-clad youth seeking to win Kemp's favor. Kemp tells the camera that Jake wants to date one of his daughters, and then demands the teenager list off the reasons behind Kemp's run for governor. Those would be to cap government spending, "take a chainsaw to regulations," and create a small-business haven in Georgia. Jake lists them off flawlessly, all while Kemp has a rifle in his hands.
Then, Kemp asks Jake to recite his "rules" for dating his daughter. "Respect," Jake says, followed by "a healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment." Kemp then cocks his rifle and points it up toward Jake's torso area. "We're gonna get along just fine," says.
The ad has garnered a lot of criticism. 11Alive News in Atlanta reported it had received a deluge of complaints when it aired the ad during commercial breaks. They note those include one viewer calling it "offensive" and another saying it was "very inappropriate." However, due to Federal Communications Commission rules on broadcasting political ads, the station is legally barred from refusing to air Kemp's commercial.
Kemp is the current secretary of state in Georgia, and has put himself in the Republican primary ring in the hopes of becoming the state's governor. Voters will choose their GOP candidate on May 22, and thus it remains to be seen if Kemp's controversial ad bid will pay off (according to Atlanta Magazine, he's currently trailing Casey Cagle, Georgia's Republican lieutenant governor).
One of the recurring critiques of Kemp's "Jake" ad was the disquieting image of an adult pointing a gun at a teen — especially in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February that left 14 teenagers dead. The HuffPost cites one Facebook commenter writing under Kemp's video ad, "After young children have lost their life to gunfire you set there flopping around a gun with a minor. Wow."
Other commenters who stated they too were gun owners blasted Kemp for how he handled his rifle. "You realize you need to point that gun DOWN RANGE not at CHILD! I support the 2nd amendment, but this ad is something entirely different," one Twitter user wrote. Another said, "You should be ashamed. You sir have lost my vote! It’s not ok to go on national tv and point a Rifle at a a kid. Embarrassing for Georgia."
One other major flaw many saw in Kemp's ad was its sexist undertones. Cassandra Stone wrote in response at Scary Mommy that, "Because young women can’t be expected to have agency over their own bodies in this, Year Of Our Lord Two Thousand And Eighteen, yet another dad is making headlines because of the old shotgun 'joke.'" Over on Twitter, Shannon Watts — founder of gun control activist group Moms Demand Action — wrote that, "This recurring and uniquely American 'joke' is tiresome."
Democrats are cautiously hopeful 2018 could be the year Georgia elects a Democrat after 15 years of Republican control. In January, Daniel Strauss outlined at Politico why many political strategists see potential for Georgia to flip the governorship. Demographics in the state are changing, and Republicans aren't getting the same support from suburban white women they once did.
It seems unlikely Kemp's ad will bring many of those lost voters back into the Republican fold.