The campaign arm for Senate Republicans is invoking a law-and-order message in a new ad released exclusively to The Hill as part of the GOP's effort to defend its majority in the upper chamber this fall.
The more than 2-minute ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), dubbed “Say No to the Mob,” comes amid nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality. The ad shows riots and protests in cities alongside clips of high-ranking Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (N.Y.), encouraging demonstrations.
"While the Republican Majority is working to ensure law and order in our communities, Democrats are paying the bail of criminals and calling on supporters to create unrest in the streets,” NRSC spokesman Jesse Hunt said in a statement. “Democrat elected officials live in fear of their base, and their Senate candidates’ mere presence in the Senate would give the angry mob more control. The juxtaposition between parties could not be more clear - in November, a vote for Democrats is a vote for the mob."
The digital ad marks the first time the GOP group has addressed the protests with a law-and-order message following unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wis., last month. It was unclear how much money was behind the ad.
Many of the protests in Kenosha and elsewhere have been peaceful, but some have devolved into looting and clashes with police and other law enforcement.
Tensions reached a high last week after a 17-year-old from Illinois allegedly traveled to Kenosha with a military-style rifle and shot three protesters, killing two. Charges against the teenager include first-degree homicide.
Republican candidates, led by President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE, have embraced the law-and-order message ahead of November, throwing their support behind law enforcement while condemning violence in several cities.
Trump spent at least $20 million on ads over the summer hitting Biden on the issue of funding for police, and the talking point has since moved down the ballot.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally House to act on debt ceiling next week MORE (R-Ky.) has run various ads in his campaign highlighting the outbreaks of violence and looting during Black Lives Matter protests.
Meanwhile, incumbent Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime How to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) MORE (R-N.C.) have accused their opponents of being weak on law and order.
Incumbent Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Daines to introduce bill awarding Congressional Gold Medal to troops killed in Afghanistan Powell reappointment to Fed chair backed by Yellen: report MORE’s (R-Mont.) reelection campaign has also run an ad against his Democratic opponent, Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve Bullock65 former governors, mayors back bipartisan infrastructure deal Arkansas, New Jersey governors to head National Governors Association Biden 'allies' painting him into a corner MORE (D), showing images of protests while a county sheriff is heard warning, “these liberal attacks on law enforcement are a real threat to public safety.”
A number of Democratic strategists expressed concerns to The Hill last week that scenes of protesting in Kenosha could play in Republicans' favor in November, especially when it comes to suburban voters.
However, Democrats have also hit back against the law-and-order messaging, calling it antiquated and misleading. Democrats have also been quick to point out that demonstrations are happening while Trump is president, seeking to dispel claims that such scenes would play out under a Biden presidency.
“Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?” Biden said during a speech on Monday, in which he condemned rioting.
“Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple,” he continued. “And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way.”