By MORGAN LEE
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A Democratic congressional candidate in New Mexico used an expletive in a television ad Friday to condemn the National Rifle Association and inaction by U.S. lawmakers on gun control, beginning a 15-second spot with the words "F--- the NRA."
In the ad, Albuquerque City Council member Pat Davis goes on to the say that NRA policies have "resulted in dead children, dead mothers and dead fathers," and that "if Congress won't change our gun laws, we're changing Congress."
The ad was broadcast on KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, where General Manager Bill Anderson said the station was not permitted by law to censor or edit Davis' commercial and must provide equal access to candidates. The station ran a brief warning about profanity immediately before the ad.
Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the NRA, said Davis' profanity doesn't reflect a serious effort to address public safety concerns.
"We would hate to dignify this with a response because it's just crass language and a desperate attempt to get attention," Baker said.
Davis, a former Washington, D.C. police officer, is competing in a six-way race for the Democratic nomination for an open congressional seat based in Albuquerque.
He told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the ad seeks to reflect the frustration he has encountered from voters and others over inaction on gun control. "People are more frustrated than common decency allows," he said, conceding that he opted for indecency to get his point across.
He said the reaction nationally to the ad has been swift, and that his campaign has seen an uptick in contributions from donors around the country since it aired. "People around the country are mad," about gun violence, he said.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Janice Arnold Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton in the November general election. The congressional seat is open because U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Albuquerque is running for governor.
Debra Haaland, a former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party who is running against Davis, said in a statement that she also believes the NRA and the arms industry are responsible for preventable deaths and understands "the anger many people are expressing."
"I share it - even if I might use different words" than Davis, she said.
New Mexico was shaken by a December shooting at Aztec High School that killed two students. An August 2017 shooting at a public library in Clovis left two dead and four wounded.
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