Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A Democrat running for Congress in conservative central Washington has removed an online campaign video that showed him blasting an elephant-shaped pinata with a shotgun.
The advertisement by Estakio Beltran generated a lot of criticism, including from a group founded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who survived a gunshot wound to the head in 2011, the Tri-City Herald reported.
“Mr. Beltran’s ad showing him shooting a stuffed elephant — the longtime symbol of the Republican Party — is irresponsible and offensive,” according to a statement from Americans for Responsible Solutions. “This kind of misguided imagery and rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum just furthers the lack of balance in our nation’s debate about guns.”
The campaign removed the video from YouTube on Saturday. In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, Beltran spokesman Grady O’Brien said the purpose of the ad was to call attention to a “do-nothing Congress.”
The 30-year-old Beltran is one of a dozen candidates running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Doc Hastings in the 4th District. The primary will be held Aug. 5.
While the ad was removed from YouTube, it’s still widely viewable on the Internet:
The ad can also be viewed here.
This story has been updated.