Eighteen months after Brian Kemp's provocative gun ad helped him break through in last year's GOP gubernatorial primary, a Democratic candidate is seizing on the infamous spot in an ad of his own.
Matt Lieberman, an entrepreneur vying for Johnny Isakson's U.S. Senate seat, released a new spot Wednesday featuring himself sitting next to Jack, his daughter's real-life boyfriend, holding a fake automatic weapon as he grills him about his positions on issues like abortion and the Second Amendment.
“Do you think the government should control what happens to a woman’s body?” Lieberman asks.
“Well, sir, I think a woman should control her own body,” Jack responds.
Lieberman also takes a dig at Kemp, who was lambasted by Democrats for running for governor while serving as the state’s top elections official last year and systematically removing voters from the rolls.
“Do you think every vote should count, or is a little voter suppression okay every now and then?” he asks.
“I think every vote should count,” Jack says.
The spot ends with a back-and-forth on guns. After Jack says he doesn’t think people should be able to purchase military-style weapons, Lieberman makes a rhetorical nod at Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who generated headlines at a recent presidential debate for saying “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.”
“Jack, you and me, we’re going to get along just fine,” the candidate concludes.
The ad is a parody of "Jake," the spot that generated national attention for Kemp and helped him secure a spot in last year's Republican gubernatorial runoff against then-Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle. In the ad, which won praise from supporters and jeers from Democrats, Kemp polishes his shotgun next to Jake, an intimidated young man interested in dating his daughter.
“We’re going to get along just fine,” Kemp concludes at the end of the spot.
Lieberman, the son of former U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, has made gun control a major tenet of his campaign. He’s called for banning assault weapons, expanding background checks and enacting “red flag” laws that would empower judges to order the seizure of weapons from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.
Roughly 500 candidates have applied online to succeed Isakson, who is retiring on Dec. 31 due to health reasons. Whoever Kemp picks will run for election in November 2020 to finish the final two years of Isakson’s term – and be expected to run again in 2022.
While Kemp is expected to select a Republican to fill the spot in 2020, Lieberman is one of the only Democrats to announce his intent to run next fall.