Update: Republicans respond to web ad.
The special election to replace the retired Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) just took a turn for the spectacular. A new web video aimed at boosting the Republican chances for an upset win is
dropping jaws at the Democratic candidate’s headquarters and prompting calls for a bipartisan condemnation of the shockingly negative attack.
The election pits Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn (D) against businessman Craig Huey, a tea party Republican who’s second place finish in one of California’s first jungle primaries came as a surprise to most. The race to the July 12 runoff has fallen to the national backburner as attention shifted to the NY-26 race and a more general discussion of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R) budget plan.
That could be about to change, thanks to the web ad produced by the brand-new Turn Right USA PAC, which filed its official paperwork last week.
Simply put, the ad is Willie Horton on steroids. The 90-second clip accuses Hahn of being too cozy with gang criminals in the past, a charge she’s faced for a while and her campaign says has been thoroughly debunked.
The spot is produced by Ladd Ehlinger, Jr., best known for his wildly popular Dale “Don’t Give A Rip” Peterson campaign video in the 2010 race for Alabama secretary of agriculture. Turn Right USA, the sponsor, is a brand new political action committee which only filed its paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Monday. The paperwork indicates that Turn Right USA intends to operate as a so-called “super PAC,” capable of raising funds in unlimited amount, but will not use those funds to directly support federal candidates or committees. Claude Todoroff serves as treasurer for the group, which is based in Gardena, Calif. G. Rick Marshall serves as the group’s designated agent.
Here’s what Ehlinger made to take on Hahn:
Hahn’s campaign is shocked.
“This ad is incredibly offensive and sexist to all women,” Hahn campaign manager Dave Jacobson told TPM. “The producer of this ad should be ashamed of himself and Craig Huey should be ashamed to have this kind of thing produced on his behalf.”
Jacobson called on Huey to “come out and condemn this ad immediately.”
In a statement EMILY’s List, which has endorsed Hahn, called the ad “the most vile, racist, sexist ad we have ever seen” and also called on Huey to condemn it.
Huey’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did the Los Angeles County GOP.
California Republican Party spokesperson Mark Standriff distanced the party and Huey from the web ad.
“The video in question is highly offensive and totally inappropriate,” he said “and has no connection whatsoever to the Huey campaign or the California Republican Party.”
On his website, Ehlinger preemptively refuted charges that the ad is racist:
Before you charge racism at the ad, consider her one line in the video: “It takes a different kind of person to speak the language.” By that she means, it takes black people to talk to black people.
2005 statistics from the LAPD reported that the vast majority of L.A.’s gang population is made up of predominately Latino gangs.
Ryan J. Reilly contributed.