A Georgia gubernatorial candidate is defending his use of the old I’ll shoot you if you touch my daughter joke he used in a campaign ad after it garnered a mixed response.
In the ad, Republican candidate Brian Kemp sits in a room surrounded by firearms with Jake, a nervous teenage boy interested in Kemp’s daughter. As Kemp polishes a break-action shotgun, Jake list’s off Kemp’s political positions.
Then, the 30-second ad ends with Kemp saying: “And two things if you’re gonna date one of my daughters.”
“Respect,” Jake answers.
“A healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment, sir.”
Kemp closes his shotgun gun and holds it pointed in Jake’s direction. “We’re gonna get along just fine.”
The station that aired the ad received negative feedback with people calling it “disturbing” and “uncomfortable.” The station said it could not pull the ad because of the content because federal election rules prohibit that sort of action against a legally qualified candidate.
However, some area Republicans describe Kemp’s ad as funny — or at least it was meant to be funny — while Democrats say there’s nothing funny about pointing a shotgun at a teenager, local media reported.
On social media and in statements to media, Kemp defended the ad, saying “I’m conservative, folks. Get over it!”
Gun control advocate Shannon Watts, who heads Moms Demand Action, said: “This recurring and uniquely American ‘joke’ is tiresome.” She has referred to such jokes as out of touch given the public’s concern with school shootings.
Last month, former NFL player Jay Feely caught flak for displaying a handgun while posing with his daughter and her prom date. He also described the image as a joke, but still drew the same ire.
Kemp, polling in at around 10 percent of public support, is running neck and neck for second in the Republican primary race. The election is May 22.