Local media is criticizing a South Carolina politician who appeared in a recent campaign ad “clutching” an AR-15 as she took aim at her opponents for voting to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in 2015.
“Weak politicians are too quick to blame a horrible tragedy on a flag or a gun or even free speech, and that’s how bad laws are made,” District 5 Congressional candidate Sheri Few said in the video as she held the gun in front of a waiving American flag.
“I’m Sheri Few. I’m running for Congress and I approve this message because America needs bold and strong leaders who won’t panic and will speak the truth, seize the moment, and move our conservative agenda as fast and as far as we can,” she said. “Now! Not later. Now!”
The 30-second clip is in reference to a vote by House lawmakers on July 9, 2015 to remove the Confederate flag in the wake of a racially motivated shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston that left nine black parishioners dead the month prior.
The lawmakers voted to remove the flag in part because the racist shooter like to pose with it on Facebook.
The ad is focused on highlighting that some of Few’s opponents in the race to replace former U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who was tapped by the Trump administration to head the Office on Management and Budget, supported the move, WISTV reports.
State House Reps. Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman are among the 97 House members who voted in favor of removing the flag, and are running against Few in the Republican-leaning district. Other challengers include Tom Mullikin, Chad Connelly, and Kris Wampler, according to the news site.
WISTV repeatedly referred to the weapon in the video as an “assault rifle” and raised the question: Distasteful ad?
Few defended the video, which is set to run on Fox News programs on cable, Dish Network, DirecTV and AT&T across the state’s media markets.
“It’s a very slippery slope to blame inanimate objects for a crime,” Few said. “And that’s what tends to happen and weak politicians fall for that, and that’s when bad laws are created, which is exactly what my new ad says.”
Norman attempted to defend his vote to remove the Confederate flag with a series of GOP name drops, and said he regrets nothing.
“Sheri, she’s got her views,” he told WISTV. “Outside all day long with Gov. Hailey, Tim Scott, Trey Gowdy, and I would make the vote again as I did then.”
The news site also cited a “political analyst” who opined that Few’s video is an act of desperation to differentiate herself in a crowded race.
According to the Post and Courier:
The new online video comes several weeks after Few released another ad attacking two other Republican opponents for voting to take down the Confederate battle flag from the S.C. Statehouse grounds….
The fiery messages have fallen relatively flat among some in the crowded Republican field, which also includes current and former state lawmakers and a former state GOP chairman. State Rep. Tommy Pope and former state lawmaker Ralph Norman, who were the targets of Few’s earlier pro-Confederate flag video, have said the ads are not an issue in the race.
Few, meanwhile, begs to differ.
“The Republicans in the 5th District, I think, absolutely agree with me on this,” she told WISTV. “I’ve had a lot of support and I’m gaining a lot of momentum.”
Voters will get their first opportunity to weigh in on the race during the May 2 primary.