Arizona Republican candidate in ad says AR-15 needed to fight against 'Democrats in Klan hoods'

·3 min read
Congressional candidate Jerone Davison participates in a Republican debate on Arizona PBS on Monday, May 9, 2022.
Congressional candidate Jerone Davison participates in a Republican debate on Arizona PBS on Monday, May 9, 2022.

A provocative new campaign ad in which Republican congressional candidate Jerone Davison uses an AR-15 rifle to defend his family from "a dozen angry Democrats in Klan hoods" met Wednesday with mixed reaction online.

Davison, a former NFL player and pastor, is one of five Republicans running for the GOP nomination in Arizona's 4th Congressional District, which includes parts of Tempe, Mesa and Chandler.

He posted the 24-second clip with the caption "Make Rifles Great Again," with an emoji of a bicep curl, which is often used to indicate strength.

The video starts out like a standard Republican campaign ad in words:

"Democrats like to say: 'No one needs an AR-15 for self-defense. That no one could possibly need all 30 rounds.'"

However, the initial image of the a Ku Klux Klan member hints where the ad is headed. As the Klan member walks toward Davison's house, he sits in his kitchen sipping coffee in a cup that displays the American flag and then clasps his hands together and places them toward his face as if he is praying.

"But when this rifle is the only thing standing between your family and a dozen angry Democrats in Klan hoods, you just might need that semi-automatic and all 30 rounds," the narrator says.

Davison exits his house with the AR-15 as a mob approaches with a pitchfork and other weapons. When the approximately six or seven Klan members — with one appearing to be Black — see Davison's gun, they retreat.

The ad drew reactions from both sides of the political spectrum.

"This has to be the greatest campaign ad in history! Best of luck in your race sir!" one Twitter post says.

Conservative commentator Shemeka Michelle wrote: "Haha!! I love it! He played their game against them."

Others were not so supportive. "The historian in me is weeping. The human is screaming," another Twitter user said.

"There's something about Ex-NFL players & head injuries. Jerone Davison & Herschel Walker are walking advertisements of CTE," another said, referring to the brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The Davison campaign did not respond immediately to a request for comment about the ad.

Christale Spain, a senior adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responded to the ad with a written statement.

"The use of Klan robes is staggeringly dishonest coming from Arizona Republicans, who have openly consorted with white nationalists and praised the Proud Boys. The imagery is a real, painful part of the history and lived experience of Black Americans — but this ad is a deceptive misrepresentation of who’s under the hood," Spain said. "It’s time for Arizona Republicans to put their money where their mouth is and clean house. We call on Jerone Davison’s primary opponents, Tanya Wheeless and Kelly Cooper, to immediately condemn this ad, white supremacy, and the racist groups that are infiltrating our politics to take us back to this period in history."

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at tara.kavaler@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @kavalertara

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: GOP candidate Jerone Davison releases pro-AR-15 ad