LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A political action committee said Friday that it won’t pull a widely condemned radio ad that suggests white Democrats will lynch African-Americans if they win in midterm elections in Arkansas next month.
Vernon Robinson with Black Americans for the President’s Agenda said Friday that the group won’t cancel the radio ad running in the Little Rock area in support of Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill. He said the group also won’t pull a similar ad he says is airing in Missouri. The ads in both states are scheduled to run through Friday, Robinson said.
“There’s no plan to change the current mix of ads. We have a plan, we’re executing the plan,” Robinson, the PAC’s co-founder and treasurer, told The Associated Press.
Just got off the phone with Vernon Robinson, who runs the PAC airing this ad—he's spending a little less than $50K total to air it on urban contemporary radio in the St. Louis, Kansas City & Little Rock markets for 2 wkshttps://t.co/vE4M7F6IfL
— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) October 18, 2018
Hill and his Democratic challenger, Clarke Tucker, have condemned the Arkansas ad, which invokes the accusation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when he was a teenager. The ad implies that Democrats’ support for Kavanaugh’s accuser means black men wouldn’t be protected from unfounded rape claims.
A woman in the ad says that “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again.”
“I’m voting to keep Congressman French Hill and the Republicans, because we have to protect our men and boys,” the woman in the ad says. “We can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.”
Arkansas Republicans on Friday filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against the PAC over the ad. The complaint said the committee had not registered to campaign in Arkansas and that the ads were running illegally. Robinson said he planned to talk with the Ethics Commission staff to determine the next step.
Robinson has said the ad is part of a $50,000 buy.
Tucker and Democrats are relying in part on heavy turnout from African-Americans to flip the 2nd District seat, which covers Little Rock and seven central Arkansas counties. The ad isn’t the first time racially charged issues have come into play in the race. Tucker last month denounced immigration attack mailers sent out by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton’s PAC as “racist.” Tucker earlier this month said a statue of his great-great-grandfather should be removed from the U.S. Capitol, condemning his ancestor’s statement that the South looked to the Democratic Party to preserve “white standards.”
Hill and Tucker are both white. The 2nd District is about 23 percent black, according to U.S. Census estimates.