Eddie Mauro, one of a handful of Democrats hoping to be their party’s challenger to Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, has launched ads punctuated by gunfire and criticism of the incumbent for “glorifying guns.”
Mauro’s ad references “Shot,” an attention-grabbing ad that Ernst aired when she first ran for office in 2014. In it, the former Iowa National Guard officer is seen firing a handgun at a shooting range while a narrator says she will “take aim at wasteful spending” and will “unload” on the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
Mauro’s ad, which will run for three weeks in all Iowa television markets, borrows footage from Ernst’s 2014 ad, but replaces the paper targets with the candidate himself “standing up to the shots Joni has fired at key policies protecting Iowans,” according to his campaign.
“She doesn’t seem to care that many of those guns will be pointed at our kids, our teachers, churchgoers, moviegoers, concertgoers, our police officers,” the Des Moines businessman says. “Well, I care.”
The Ernst campaign said he should be ashamed of the ad.
“It’s outrageous and offensive that Eddie Mauro would make light of gun violence in order to help his campaign,” said the campaign’s Brook Ramlet, “and this disgusting ad should be taken down immediately.”
Mauro pushed back, saying he’s making a “deep statement” not just about gun violence but about Ernst as well — “how she used guns to shoot holes in the Affordable Care Act and other crazy things.”
As he recorded the ad, “I thought about the kids at Parkland, the parents from Sandy Hook, the young people just out to have a good time at the Pulse nightclub, families going to shop at their local Walmart,” he said.
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Most Iowans, he said, want to reduce gun violence and feel safe when out in public or sending their children to school.
“This is an issue we’ve allowed to go unchallenged for way too long,” he said. “We pointedly went after Joni Ernst because she’s been silent on any solutions for this (because) she’s been corrupted by the money, the NRA.”
In addition to talking about guns, the two-minute version of the video ad includes criticism of Ernst for her “shots taken at health care, education, our environment.”
“She’s spent almost six years taking shots and not making any headway,” Mauro said.
Mauro is in a four-way primary contest with Michael Franken of Sioux City, Theresa Greenfield of Des Moines and Kimberly Graham of Indianola. The winner of the June 2020 primary will face Ernst.
Cook Political Report rates the race “likely Republican.”
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