LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a new campaign ad against his GOP nominee, Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker highlights his ancestry story by wearing a noose around his neck.
In the videopublished Wednesday and titled “Pain of our Past,” the first black Kentuckian to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, went graphic with the new online ad that begins with a disclaimer.
“The pain of our past persists to this day. In Kentucky, as in many southern states, lynching was a tool of terror. It was used to kill the hopes of freedom. It was used to kill my ancestors,” reads a voiceover from Booker.
The announcement that has just been published is already arousing strong reactions.
Dr. Ricky L. Jones, professor and chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville, told Spectrum News 1: “If there is a place where a noose is needed, the symbolism of that noose is needed, it’s Kentucky.”
He says the video is compelling and grabs attention.
“It gained national traction. People will say ‘Wow. What is that?’ and ‘Wow. What’s going on in Kentucky where a black politician would feel compelled to post this? “So, I say good about him,” Dr. Jones said.
The one-minute, 12-second video focuses heavily on the lynching in the south while Booker is seen wearing a noose around his neck while taking aim at his election opponent.
In the ad, Booker says Senator Rand Paul stopped the anti-lynching law from becoming federal law in 2020. However, the ad does not mention that Paul co-sponsored a new version of the legislation, which was signed into law. earlier this year.
Paul’s campaign manager responds to the ad with a statement that reads:
“Dr. Paul has worked diligently to strengthen the language of this legislation and is one of the co-sponsors of the bill which now ensures that federal law will define lynching as the absolutely heinous crime that it is. Any attempt to to say otherwise is a desperate misrepresentation of the facts.
Dr Jones called the video a bold and unique strategy, but not without its risks.
“It’s something the Democratic Party in this state and even the National Democratic Party will avoid. They engage in a brand of Republican milk toast like politics that’s not very engaging, not very compelling, and that’s why they consistently lack political layups,” says Dr. Jones.
Making a second run for the Senate this year, Booker hopes to unseat Paul, although a January poll found Paul leading Booker by 16 points.
“What Booker shows me is that if he goes down, he goes down swinging and I like that,” Dr Jones said.
Booker and Paul will face off in November’s general election where the state hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.