Georgia Republican calls ad tying race to congressional shooting 'disgusting'

The commercial was produced by a pro-GOP super PAC.

ByABC News
June 19, 2017, 5:03 PM

— -- The Republican candidate in Tuesday's special election in Georgia called a super PAC advertisement featuring images of last week's shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice "disgusting," despite its message to vote for her.

The ad, released by Principled PAC, a political action committee supporting Karen Handel, includes video of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., one of the victims of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, being stretchered away from the baseball field as the voiceover says "the unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans."

"When will it stop? It won’t if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday, because the same unhinged leftists cheering last week’s shooting are all backing Jon Ossoff," continues the ad, referencing Handel's Democratic rival.

In comments to reporters Monday, Handel called the commercial "disgusting," echoing a statement released by her campaign Saturday, and added that it "absolutely" should be taken off the air. Ossoff previously called for Handel to "disown" the ad.

"The video is disturbing and disgusting," said Handel's spokesperson Kate Constantini Saturday. "For any group to use the shootings this week for political or personal benefit is shameful. This group should be ashamed."

Political action committees, such as Principled PAC, are legally prohibited from coordinating with candidates and do not need approval to run advertisements on their behalf. Principled PAC did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

At least one local Republican official interpreted last week's shooting as a potential positive for Handel's candidacy. Brad Carver, the chair of the Republican Party in Georgia's 11th congressional district, said Saturday he thinks "the shooting is going to win this election for us," according to The Washington Post.

“Because moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism," Carver added.

The race between Handel and Ossoff to replace Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price has become one of the most expensive in history as Democrats seek to turn the state's sixth congressional district, a traditionally red area that only narrowly chose President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in November.

ABC News' MaryAlice Parks and Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.

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