An anti-Muslim super PAC has used a photo of a Republican candidate holding a gun to endorse him for the seat left vacant by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) after she was shot in the head last year.
A second graphic with the same photo was used in an email appeal for donations.
"We stand with Jesse in making sure that our troops are always supported and our national defense will not be compromised," MAFPAC political director Sal Russo wrote in a statement on Monday. "The last thing we need in Congress is another big spending liberal who is unwilling to stand up for our military to keep America safe. It is so important the pro-troop community rallies behind Jesse Kelly in these final few days before the Special Election."
In a statement to NPR on Wednesday, Kelly's campaign refused to address the gun imagery.
"This campaign is about bringing jobs and prosperity back to America," spokesperson John Ellinwood said. "That's why we're focused on lowering taxes, growing the economy, and lowering gas prices using American energy."
Last year, Giffords was shot in Arizona after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) put her on a “target list” that included an image of crosshairs over the congresswoman’s district. That Tucson shooting also left six other people dead.
Months after the shooter's rampage, the Republican Party in Pima County, which was part Giffords' district, raised funds by raffling off a pistol that was similar to the Glock 19 that was used to gun her down.
A MAFPAC spokesperson could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.