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Jesse Kelly (R-AZ 08)
You are a PAC supporting a Republican candidate for Congress in the Arizona 8th district. The same district that was the site of a horrific armed rampage just 17 months ago.

Color me hypersensitive, but when a seat becomes vacant because the sitting representative is convalescing from near-fatal gunshot wounds, and her party's nominee (and her former district director) was also shot twice and badly wounded in the same armed assault, maybe it is a touch out of bounds to hype a candidate for that same office as a "warrior" while holding an assault rifle?

A PAC supporting Jesse Kelly, a former Marine running to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a special election on Tuesday, is using an image Kelly's campaign has avoided thus far — the candidate holding a gun.

Kelly, a Republican, ran against Giffords, a Democrat, in 2010. Giffords resigned in January, just over a year after a shooting spree left six dead and the congresswoman critically wounded. Kelly's opponent this time is former Giffords aide Ron Barber, who was shot twice during the 2011 rampage.

Look, using a candidate's military past is absolutely nothing new in politics, Republican or Democrat. And even showing the candidate with the accoutrements of combat duty (namely, weapons) is also standard operating procedure in the campaign game.

But when a member of Congress is a target for assassination, and this is the race that will replace her in the House, the rules of normal campaign procedure are necessarily different, if you have any respect for the circumstances.

And Jesse Kelly, to this point, seemed to have known that. After making his combat past a front-and-center talking point of his unsuccessful 2010 House campaign (when he lost to Gabby Giffords by two points) (indeed the image in the PAC email appeal was taken from Kelly's 2010 bid), he has been much less likely to invoke the warrior street cred in this special election, in which voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

As for Kelly's campaign, their response to the questions about the propriety of the PAC's email appeal is pretty priceless, in the "dear lord, let us talk about something else" vein:

"This campaign is about bringing jobs and prosperity back to America. That's why we're focused on lowering taxes, growing the economy, and lowering gas prices using American energy."
Even the PAC had the sense of decency to acknowledge the convalescence of Rep. Giffords before issuing their non-apologetic statement:
"While we applaud the former Congresswoman's recovery, this race is not about Gabby Giffords. We want to give the people of Arizona a new voice that reflects their values."
The special election to fill the seat of Gabby Giffords will be held this Tuesday in Arizona's 8th district, which will become the Arizona 2nd when the new redistricting lines are implemented in November.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 08:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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