Democrats are crying foul over an ad by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) attacking Nebraska Democrat House candidate Brad Ashford as soft on crime. The ad features Nikko Jenkins, a black man with a violent past who was released under a Nebraska law that allows one day to be deducted from a prisoner’s sentence for every day they spend in prison without incident, a program supported by Ashford.
A month after his release, Jenkins, his face covered in tattoos, murdered 4 people in 11 days.
Democrats aren’t disputing the facts in the ad, they are claiming the ad is racist for using the violent rampage of a criminal who happens to be black.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Ashley Lewis told Politico, “This repellent, race-baiting ad has no place in America, and national Republicans should apologize and take it down immediately. Republicans should be ashamed that they have resorted to divisive rhetoric, playing up racial stereotypes and fear-mongering to save their sinking candidate.”
The NRSC defended the ad, spokesman Tyler Houlton said, “Brad Ashford’s disturbing support for Nebraska’s ‘Good Time Law’ let Nikko Jenkins out of prison early and resulted in the murders of four people. The fact that Brad Ashford still defends this law is disgusting, and he has no business running for Congress in the first place.”
The NRCC will not pull the ad. Houlton stated, “Brad Ashford’s dangerous record on crime is fair game. Nebraska voters deserve to know that Brad Ashford supports policies that have made them less safe.”
Politico then writes, “The ad drew immediate comparisons to Republicans’ 1988 ad featuring Willie Horton, a convicted felon who raped a woman, assaulted her boyfriend and stole their car while on a weekend furlough from a prison in Massachusetts.” They don’t, however, quote anyone actually making that comparison.
Unreported by Politico is the fact that the issue of Willie Horton and Massachusetts prison furlough program was first brought up in the 1988 campaign during the primary by Presidential candidate and then Democratic Senator from Tennessee, Al Gore.
Here is the 1988 Willie Horton ad, which was run by the National Security PAC, not the George H. W. Bush campaign or the Republican Party.