Martin Hits Back, Recounts Daughter's Kidnapping

After conservatives accused him of being soft on crime last week, Georgia Democrat Jim Martin's latest web ad takes a more solemn tone than most seen in the 2008 election cycle: in it, Martin stares into the camera and tells viewers that the kidnapping of his own daughter when she was eight years old shaped his stances on crime and punishment.

"You never forget the horror of coming face to face with violent crime," Martin says. "My daughter Becky was kidnapped when she was only eight. We were blessed that she got away, but I never forgot the way she trembled when she faced her kidnapper in court. That's why I fought so hard to crack down on violent crime and lock up violent criminals."

Martin concludes the ad, which was released Saturday, by pledging that "in the Senate, I'll keep working to protect all our families."

In a TV ad last week, conservative advocacy group Freedom's Watch suggested that Martin's crime stances specifically leave children vulnerable.

"Nothing's more important than your family's safety. That's why we have laws to protect them from harm. But you need to know one public leader failed to look out for Georgia families: Jim Martin," a narrator says. During the narration, a suspicious-looking man walks by a group of children at an ice cream truck and stares at them. The screen darkens and an ominous sound-effect is heard as the camera follows the man.

Martin's ad is a response to both the Freedom's Watch TV ad another being aired by the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC). The NRSC ad makes no mention of children; as does the Freedom's Watch ad, it criticizes several of Martin's crime votes in Georgia's state legislature. Some of the ads' claims about Marton's votes are disputed by Martin's campaign as factually inaccurate.

Though Chambliss did not pay for the ads, Martin's camp is seeking to hold the GOP incumbent accountable for them.

"These are the kinds of vicious attacks that have made Saxby Chambliss famous," Martin spokesman Matt Canter told The Hill, alluding to the 2002 ads in which face of Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), a Vietnam veteran who lost three limbs in that war, was morphed into that of Osama bin Laden.

When contacted for comment by The Hill, Freedom's Watch spokesman Ed Patru said, "Jim Martin's record on drunk driving and domestic abuse speaks for itself." Votes on drunk driving and domestic abuse penalties were the two singled out in the group's ad.

When asked if Freedom's Watch knew of Martin's daughter's abduction when it made the ad, Patru said the group does not discuss the decisions it makes in producing ads. He did say, however: "We have an adequate sized and very capable research operation, and all of our ads are well researched."

Martin and Chambliss will face off in a runoff election slated for Dec. 2, which was triggered when Chambliss failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 4, when he bested Martin 49.8 percent to 46.8 percent.

Martin's campaign says it is weighting whether or not to air the new web ad on TV. It is 30 seconds long, a standard length for TV ads.

See Martin's ad, as well as those from Freedom's Watch and the NRSC, below.






Freedom's Watch's ad:





NRSC's ad:


More in News/Campaigns

Dukakis: Hillary will be '16 nominee

Read more »