The well-funded political spending arm of the state’s leading business coalition bashed Sen. Lori Klein in a campaign ad today, calling her a “gun-toting, red-scaring, conspiracy-touting politician.”
The ad is a response to Klein’s earlier remarks in which she said she didn’t want the endorsement of the “Chamber of Communists.”
The 30-second ad is expected to further turn up the heat in the contested GOP primary, where Klein is fighting House Speaker Andy Tobin and his seatmate Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott.
Klein described the ad as “character assassination.”
Klein said many of the chamber’s members are from the health care industry that wants Arizona to operate its insurance exchange, a key component of the federal health care law.
The chamber doesn’t want her back in the Legislature because she’s not a “vote for them” on, among other issues, the insurance exchange, she said.
“The ad is tongue-in-cheek, but the issues are serious,” said Glenn Hamer, chairman of the Arizona Business Coalition, which produced the campaign ad. Hamer is also president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Hamer said Klein has aligned herself with “fringe elements” on the political spectrum.
The ad, called “Lori Get your Gun,” pointed out some of her more infamous quotes and highlighted news stories about the Anthem senator, and put her under the most unflattering light.
“Watch out journalists, this little lady’s packin’ heat!” the ad said, referring to reports that Klein trained her handgun’s laser light at a reporter during an interview.
The ad also called Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber,” her “sidekick” and dug up his remark during a fundraiser for Klein in which he said: “put a damn fence on that border going to Mexico and start shooting.”
Matching its tongue-and-cheek approach, the campaign piece parodied old movie ads for Westerns.
Klein said she already distanced herself from Wurzelbacher’s remark, which she called “inappropriate.”
The senator added that her “communist” comment was also meant to be tongue-in-cheek—not to be taken “literally.”
But Klein said the bigger chambers tend to represent big businesses, and the latter comprise the “big spending lobby.”
“They’re the ones down there wanting us to spend more at a time when we can’t,” she said. “They all want money.”
Klein’s Anthem home was drawn into the mostly rural northern Arizona district after the redistricting process last year.
The race has so far attracted more than $100,000 in spending from outside groups, with most of the spending going to benefit Tobin and Klein.