Super PAC removes cable cars from anti-Ossoff ad after San Francisco threat

When San Francisco officials demanded that a GOP group remove images of cable cars from an ad attacking Democrat Jon Ossoff, the super PAC turned to another reliable symbol of the California city: The Golden Gate Bridge.

The Congressional Leadership Fund on Wednesday replaced the images of Ossoff's face on the cable cars with one of him on the iconic bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait.

The images were swapped after the city's Municipal Transportation Agency threatened to send a cease-and-desist demand to pull the 30-second spot. The agency told The San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday that it violated a policy against images of the cable cars being used in political advertisements.

"The cable car is an iconic landmark that attracts people and attention from all over the world," agency spokesman Paul Rose told The Chronicle. "And I think we can all agree that it is best left un-Photoshopped."

The super PAC, which has ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, said through a spokeswoman that it followed proper guidelines to create the ad and that it's hopeful the city "will pursue litigation against us."

“It is no surprise that Jon Ossoff’s favorite city is rushing to his defense to hide his connections to Nancy Pelosi and Bay Area liberals," said Courtney Alexander, the group's spokeswoman. "We welcome the extra attention on our ad and Jon Ossoff’s liberal record."

The ad, launched last week, featured hipsters and hippies against a San Francisco backdrop praising Ossoff as “one of us."

We already have Nancy Pelosi as our Congresswoman,” says one actor, “now you’re going to give us Jon Ossoff as our Congressman.”

The cable car made the cameo at the end of the ad, wrapped with Ossoff’s picture, a peace sign and a blue banner that proclaims him “San Francisco’s Congressman.” It was replaced with an aerial shot of the bridge and a banner reading: "Pelosi Ossoff 2017."

It continued a trend among conservative groups linking Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House Democrats who represents a San Francisco-based district. He has dismissed those attacks as “smears” from a predictable GOP playbook.

The ad hit the airwaves as part of the super PAC’s $6.5 million campaign in the suburban Atlanta district, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb. Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel square off in a June 20 runoff that's seen as a must-win for the GOP, and the race is already the costliest U.S. House contest in history.

More recent AJC coverage of the 6th District race:

How the 6th District went from red to purple

A U.S. House record: Georgia’s 6th race costs $30M and counting

Republican state Senate win tests ‘Ossoff effect’

Handel aims to consolidate GOP support with Ryan visit

Ossoff takes aim at disgruntled Republicans in Georgia’s 6th

Georgia 6th: Ossoff ad slams Handel’s ‘unforgivable’ Komen decision

Ryan on Handel: ‘We need someone who is tested and true’

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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.