This undated frame grab from a political ad shows gubernatorial candidate and current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, left, pointing a shotgun in the direction of a young man. 
Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

Kemp to critics of shotgun-pointing ad: Get over it. 

Brian Kemp got what he wanted out of the provocative ad that showed the Republican cleaning a shotgun beside a young man purportedly courting his daughter: Outrage and free media. 

The secretary of state put $1 million behind the ad for his campaign for governor, which has triggered outcry from some critics who say he shouldn’t be so cavalier with firearms. 

Kemp took to Fox News this week to proclaim the pushback - and the attention he’s attracted - as a sign of a success as he races toward the May 22 vote.

“It’s driving the liberal media crazy,” he said with a smile.

“People love the ad. They know it’s funny ... People are like, ‘Don’t back down, keep this up.’”

(Asked whether the young man in the ad, “Jake,” was really trying to court his daughter, Kemp changed the subject.)

The poll by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs was conducted April 19 to April 26. Each of the 507 respondents indicated they had voted in the 2014 or 2016 Republican primary and that they would likely vote in the May contest. The margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.

The attention-grabbing spot landed last week as the primary tightens. The AJC/Channel 2 poll showed Kemp in a statistical tie with state Sen. Hunter Hill for the No. 2 spot, trailing behind Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. 

The GOP nominee will face one of two Democrats in the race: Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams or ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans.

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond, former Attorney General Sam Olens, Emory University political scientist Andra Gillespie and your Insider joined the Political Rewind show Wednesday on Georgia Public Broadcasting to discuss the ad and other twists in the campaign for governor. 

Listen to the program here: Kemp Faces Criticism For Gun-Pointing Ad

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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