Screenshot of ad

Democratic ad dredges up image Kemp presented during primary runoff

Republican Brian Kemp’s own words are being used against him in a new ad from Georgia Democrats that repeats their claim that Kemp “just can’t be trusted.”

The ad was released Monday and was paid for by the Democratic Party of Georgia. It relies heavily on television ads during the GOP primary runoff for governor in which Kemp portrayed himself as a gun-toting, politically incorrect conservative.

The 30-second spot shows a pickup truck, shotgun, explosion and chainsaw — all trademarks of the runoff in which he defeated Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

The plot

The ad opens with Kemp in the pickup truck that, for ad purposes, he’s parked since recasting himself for the general election as a moderate.

The camera then moves to the bed of a pickup, where a series of people recount an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation that found Kemp said some variation of “I don’t recall” 91 times in a deposition about a $500,000 loan he’s accused of not repaying.

The ad then hits on familiar themes of the campaign of Stacey Abrams, a former leader in the state House of Representatives and Kemp’s opponent in the Nov. 6 general election. These include questions about Kemp’s oversight of massage parlors and an earlier commercial showing him pointing a gun at his daughter’s date.

It follows with images of an explosion and the chainsaw he displayed in earlier campaign ads.

Three times, the new ad shows a smiling Kemp saying, “Yup.”

The ad closes with the moderator saying: “Unaccountable. Irresponsible. Reckless. Brian Kemp just can’t be trusted.”

The context

Before the primary runoff, Kemp made no apologies for pointing a shotgun, revving up a chainsaw against regulations and saying he would be out in his pickup rounding up people here illegally if he could. But since the primary, Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, has portrayed himself as a moderate and Abrams an extremist.

He has long denied the claim that he’s been easy on massage therapists accused of sexual misconduct. Kemp has said a state board that is under his office for administrative purposes only is solely responsible for licensing — or revoking the licenses — of massage therapists.

Kemp is being sued over the $500,000 loan but has denied any wrongdoing.

The reaction

Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for Kemp, issued this statement in response to the new ad:

“Stacey Abrams wants radical, government-run health care that will make your health insurance illegal, raise taxes $13,000 per Georgian, and ultimately bankrupt Medicaid and Medicare. She is running on an extreme agenda to give welfare, free college, and voting rights to illegal immigrants. Abrams will undermine public safety, destroy our economy, and threaten Georgia’s future. Yup. I just said that.”

Watch the ad

See other ads from the campaign for governor.

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