Jimmy Camp, campaign manager for Republican Craig Huey — who’s trying to pull off an upset win in the special election to replace retired Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) next month — says he is as upset as anyone about the shocking web video a conservative PAC put up yesterday to help out his candidate.
“I don’t know how we would get them to take something off the [YouTube],” Camp told TPM in an interview Wednesday. “If I could wave a magic wand and have it off, I would.”
Camp condemned the content of the ad, which attacks Democratic candidate Janice Hahn and has been labeled “the most vile, racist, sexist ad we have ever seen” by Hahn endorser EMILY’s List. He called the 90-second video “offensive” and “inappropriate,” adding that “it has nothing to do with our campaign.”
But beyond the content, Camp acknowledges that what some Hahn supporters are saying about the ad is true: It could help the Democrat win in the end.
The ad has drawn so much attention that it could distract from Huey’s message and make it easier than most predicted the race already will be for Hahn, a Los Angeles Councilmember.
“I’m hoping that it’s not something that becomes an issue in the campaign,” Camp said. “You talk to real voters in this district and what they are about are the economy and jobs and what we focus on and what we talk about because those are our issues.”
“It’s unfortunate that this becomes a distraction,” he added.
Camp is not the only Republican condemning the video, which was produced by Ladd Ehlinger, Jr., who’s been unapologetic about its contents in interviews.
Yesterday, the California Republican Party told TPM the ad was “highly offensive and totally inappropriate.”
Tyler Houlton, a spokesperson with the NRCC, joined in, and suggested the nature of the spot may be distracting from what Republicans think is a strong attack on Hahn.
“The investigative report of Janice Hahn’s actions on behalf of dangerous gang members is disturbing enough without the gratuitous and inappropriate images that this web ad contains,” Houlton told TPM.
There are signs that more on the Republican side of things are worried about the effect the ad could have on Huey’s chances. Town Hall’s Guy Benson wrote that “even if Hahn’s past support for a controversial program is a legitimate issue to raise — this video is totally beyond the pale,” and called for the new PAC that sponsored it to be “roundly denounced and ostracized by all conservatives for its disgusting display.”
For his part, Camp just wishes the whole thing would go away.
“This is some independent group that we have no control over, no say over whatsoever,” he said. “I wish we did. It would be off the air.”
Watch the ad in question here.