The Senate Republicans’ campaign arm said on Wednesday it will continue to post billboards targeting an Arizona Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, despite receiving a cease and desist letter from his campaign.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced its billboards will now focus on candidate Mark Kelly’s views on the Green New Deal, instead of “Medicare for All,” The Hill reported.
“Is the NRSC in Mark Kelly’s head? Well, he and his legal team decided to send a cease and desist letter over a billboard we put up in Phoenix last week. Since Kelly seems more inclined to disclose his position on issues after we call out his silence, the NRSC decided to put up more billboards – in two locations in Phoenix – that target his silence on the Green New Deal,” the NRSC said in a press release.
Kelly — a retired astronaut — is running to complete the last two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s term.
The seat is currently being held by Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the position in December by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, after losing a close race to Sen. Krysten Sinema the previous month to replace retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
Kelly is the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who resigned in 2012 after surviving an assassination attempt.
The first billboards placed by the NRSC last month claimed Kelly backed Medicare for All and said it would result in over 3.4 million Arizonans losing their health insurance.
Mark Kelly didn’t want Arizonans to see our #MedicareForAll billboard so he had his lawyers try and shut it down.
— The Senate Majority (@NRSC) May 1, 2019
Lawyers for Kelly sent the NRSC a cease and desist letter on April 24, shortly after billboards went up, stating that the candidate had taken the opposite position on Medicare for All during an interview the previous week.
According to the attorneys, the candidate spoke with Phoenix NBC affiliate KPNX in his first live televised interview as a candidate in mid-April, stating he is “not in favor” of Medicare for All, and therefore the GOP billboards were false.
The NRSC responded with a letter of its own noting that Kelly had failed to take a position on Medicare for All when repeatedly asked in the past about the proposal championed by Democratic presidential canidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Nevertheless, the NRSC is grateful that Mr. Kelly has now decided to hire legal counsel to explain his new position on Medicare for all,” the organization’s attorney wrote.
“While we have your client’s attention, we want to inform you that we’ll soon be publicizing the fact that Kelly is also well-known for his silence on the Green New Deal, thus putting 242,810 Arizona jobs at risk.”
According to The Hill, the NRSC is placing similar billboards in other battleground states, including Michigan, Minnesota, Alabama, and New Hampshire.
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