The shooting at a congressional baseball practice that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and others seriously injured last week has been injected into the special U.S. House election in Georgia, just days before voters head to the polls Tuesday.
Both candidates Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel have condemned a conservative political action committee’s new TV ad that attempts to tie Ossoff to the shooting, in which a gunman shot five people before being shot himself by police.
“A man is fighting for his life in the hospital right now and it’s shameful to politicize it,” Ossoff said in a statement. “Republicans and Democrats have come together over this national tragedy, and Congressional leadership and Karen Handel should immediately disown this ad and call for it to be pulled from TV.”
While the Handel campaign condemned the ad in a statement, it did not explicitly call for the spot to be taken down.
“The video is disturbing and disgusting,” Handel spokeswoman Kate Constantini said in a statement. “For any group to use the shootings this week for political or personal benefit is shameful. This group should be ashamed.”
The ad from the conservative Principled PAC opens with footage from last week’s shooting.
“The unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans,” the narrator says.
“When will it stop?” the narrator asks. “It won’t if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday. Because the same unhinged leftists cheering last week’s shooting are all backing Jon Ossoff.”
The ad also links Ossoff to Kathy Griffin and Nancy Pelosi, two figures that have been featured in several Republican attacks on the Democratic candidate.
The Republican party chair in Georgia’s 11th district, which neighbors the 6th district in which Ossoff and Handel are running, told the Washington Post that he thinks the shooting will help Republicans win the tight race.
“I’ll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us,” District 11 chair Brad Carver said on Saturday. “Because moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism. I get that there’s extremists on both sides, but we are not seeing them. We’re seeing absolute resistance to everything this president does. Moderates and independents out there want to give him a chance. Democrats have never given this president a chance.”