Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s pickup truck and shotgun are back. And so is “Jake,” the young actor who helped him gain national attention - and this time he’s doing much of the talking.
Kemp’s first TV ad of the runoff cycle opens with the two leaning on the back of his truck, a shotgun perched on Kemp’s shoulder. He quickly unleashes on Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, his rival in the July 24 GOP runoff for governor.
“You’ve heard about all my guns, my chainsaw and my truck. Now career politician Casey Cagle is falsely attacking me. Why do you think that is, Jake?”
Says Jake: “Because you’re a proud, hardcore Trump conservative on spending, immigration and guns. Because Cagle’s in a major corruption scandal and dropping like a rock in the polls.”
Kemp pauses for a beat or two.
“You know what? You’re starting to warm on me.”
He’s trying to leverage the secret recording that taped Cagle claiming he supported “bad public policy” to undercut a rival, while also aiming to position himself as the most fervent supporter of President Donald Trump.
And he’s invoking the same TV themes – guns, chainsaws, trucks and Jake – that helped fuel his second-place finish in the May primary.
His ad featuring him pointing a shotgun near a nervous-looking Jake earned him jeers from critics and praise from supporters. He followed it up with another spot boasting that he has a big pickup truck “just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take 'em home myself.”
The scant public polling in the race shows him trailing Cagle, who enjoys a hefty financial advantage.
The lieutenant governor has already unveiled two ads this runoff cycle – one an attack on Kemp featuring a folksy farmer – and records show he has snapped up roughly $2 million worth of airtime. A pro-Cagle outside group has bought another $500,000 in TV spots.
Kemp doesn’t have the cash to keep pace, but his advisers say there’s enough to get their message out. His campaign said this week it bought $1 million in airtime. Records show he’s so far laid out about one-third of that sum.
The Cagle campaign called the ad “undoubtedly InKempetent” but praised him for treating his gun “like a true Second Amendment supporter instead of holding ‘Jake’ at gunpoint.”
Watch the ad here: