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Progressive Democrat challenging Sen. Joni Ernst releases ad portraying her shooting at him

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The candidate, Eddie Mauro, has defended the ad.

Image source: Eddie J. Mauro for U.S. Senate video screenshot

A self-described "progressive" Democrat challenging Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) for her U.S. Senate seat has released a campaign ad depicting Ernst firing a gun at him multiple times, and has defended the clip amid criticism.

What are the details?

After introducing himself in the ad, candidate Eddie Mauro declares, "One of the reasons I'm running, 'cause our current senator, Joni Ernst, she thinks it's OK to run ads glorifying guns."

Mauro's ad uses footage from a 2014 campaign ad for Ernst, showing her shooting a handgun at an indoor range, before it cuts back to Mauro strolling through a field as bullets appear to hit fence posts and other objects — narrowly missing him as he walks and talks.

"She doesn't seem to care that many of those guns will be pointed at our kids, our teachers, churchgoers, moviegoers, concertgoers, police officers," Mauro says of his opponent before saying, "Well, I care."

In reaction to Mauro's ad on Twitter, National Republican Senatorial Committee Senior Adviser Matt Whitlock asked, "How did you think portraying a United States Senator as shooting at you would be a good idea?"

The Mauro campaign responded, "Why did she think portraying herself shooting at millions of Americans who depend upon the [Affordable Care Act] for their health insurance was a good idea?"

The Hill noted that Ernst's 2014 ad showed her "'taking aim' at 'wasteful government spending' and the Affordable Care Act."

Ernst's current campaign also took notice of her challenger's ad, tweeting, "It's outrageous and offensive that @eddiejmauro would make light of gun violence in order to help his campaign. He should be ashamed and this disgusting ad should be taken down immediately."

The Mauro campaign responded with a series of snowflake emojis along with the message, "Maybe ask Devin Nunes how well this kind of faux-outrage plays out. When Joni went after the ACA in '14 she put Iowan's [sic] healthcare and pre-existing conditions in her cross-hairs."

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