ATLANTA -- A Republican candidate for Governor has released a new ad calling himself the choice for the “politically incorrect.”
The candidate is Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
“I’m so conservative, I blow up government spending," Kemp intones, standing in a field, as an apparent explosion produces a fireball in the background.
Kemp’s new ad tilts hard toward a certain kind of Republican voter, says Dr. Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University.
"Brian Kemp wants to distinguish himself as the clear Trumpian conservative candidate," Gillespie said.
Kemp is trying to get into a runoff with Republican frontrunner Casey Cagle – making the May 22 primary a race for second place. Hunter Hill, Clay Tippins, and Michael Williams are also on the GOP ballot.
“I’ve got a big truck just in case I need to round up some criminal illegals and take 'em home myself. Yep. I just said that,” Kemp says, smiling, in the ad.
Like a previous ad, it also shows Kemp posing with an arsenal of firearms. A dozen handguns and rifles are visible in the image.
"There are a lot of Republicans in Georgia who are probably uncomfortable with that stance, by being that politically incorrect," Gillespie said.
It's also a "great strategy" to try to make a runoff, she said.
"The larger question becomes, is he painting himself in too extreme a manner, to be able to come back and pivot and appeal to more centrist voters in the general election?" Gillespie asked.
The strategy is polarizing. On Kemp’s Facebook page, one critic mocked Kemp: “I'm Brian Kemp. If you want a crazed, heavily armed vigilante as an elected official, vote for me.” A backer wrote: “The explosion in the background was the liberals’ heads.”
“If you want a politically incorrect conservative, that’s me,” Kemp concludes in the ad.
Gillespie predicts the Democratic nominee for Governor – either Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans – will cheerfully remind voters of Kemp’s incendiary primary advertising during the general election campaign – if Kemp becomes the GOP nominee.