The blog Too Conservative first reported on the image, which is a collage of zombie pictures including cartoon versions of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. The Loudon GOP sent it out in an e-mail with the subject "Halloween 2011."
"LCRC members and Republican candidates," the e-mail says, "We are going to vanquish the zombies with clear thinking conservative principles and a truckload of Republican candy...It's fun and a great way to represent our candidates to a ton of voters (and their kids) just before the election."
In a statement responding to controversy over the image, Mark Sell, chair of the LCRC, said the e-mail was meant to be "light-hearted." "Apparently, some individuals have interpreted an image of Barack Obama that appeared within the email as intending to portray the president as a victim of a violent crime," he continued. "Nothing could be further from the truth, and we deeply and sincerely apologize to the president and anyone who viewed the image if that was the impression that was left."
"The disgusting image used today on a mass e-mail has no place in our politics. Ever,'' Pat Mullins, chairman of the state party, said, The Washington Post reports. "The Republican Party of Virginia condemns the image and its use in the strongest possible terms."
And Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) spokesman Tucker Martin said the e-mail is "shameful and offensive.''
"[McDonnell] calls on those involved to apologize for their actions, and to immediately ensure that such imagery is never used again," Martin said. "The governor has long stressed the need for more civility and respect in our politics. An e-mail like this one undermines those goals, offends all Virginians and discredits our entire political process. It will not be tolerated."