A 'Top Gun' spoof and guns aplenty: US election hopefuls produce bizarre adverts

With election season in full swing, candidates hope their kooky campaign advertisements will win them voters

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Candidates running for office in recent primary elections in the US or in November's midterms producing weird, wild and sometimes wacky campaign advertisements in hopes of catching voters' attention.

From a spoof of Top Gun to a shoot-out with President Joe Biden, here is a look at 10 of the top videos so far:

The DC Gang

“Old Joe”, “Crazyface Pelosi” and “Shifty Kelly” find themselves in a Wild West gunfight with Arizona senatorial candidate Jim Lamon.

The Republican hopeful, who ultimately lost his primary to a candidate backed by former president Donald Trump, drives the Democratic trio out of a dusty town.

The advertisement drew criticism, since Mark Kelly, a senator who is portrayed in the video, is married to Gabby Giffords, a former congresswoman who was shot in the head during a 2011 mass shooting.

Top Gov

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential contender for US president in 2024, channelled his inner Tom Cruise to rail against the “corporate media” in this Hollywood-esque campaign advertisement.

Speaking from “Freedom Headquarters”, the Florida politician dons an aviator jacket and sunglasses, while old video clips show him confronting journalists at press conferences.

Mr DeSantis ran unopposed in the Republican primary for governor and will face Democratic pick Charlie Crist later this year.

Crudités

A gaffe can come at any time and haunt you on the campaign trail. The Republican nominee for one of Pennsylvania’s Senate seats, celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, visited a local grocery store to purchase ingredients for crudités.

The point was to highlight inflation under Mr Biden — but things didn’t go according to plan.

Dr Oz mixed up the name of the grocery store, calling it “Wegners” instead of Wegmans, while some of his selections — raw asparagus, anyone? — raised eyebrows.

His Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, used the flub to his advantage, releasing campaign videos mocking Dr Oz as out of touch with Pennsylvanians.

Taxpayer Super Ninja!

The race for Kansas state treasurer may not sound all that exciting, but Republican state representative Steve Johnson did his best to make it so.

His blockbuster-style advertisement features an explosion, a ninja and a cowboy hat. And the glitzy promo may have got Mr Johnson over the line, as he edged out fellow Republican Caryn Tyson in a tight primary.

'Guns are not for duck hunting’

For many, the US Constitution's Second Amendment that gives Americans the right to carry firearms is a contentious issue.

Not for Blake Masters, the Republican pick for one of Arizona’s Senate seats. In this campaign video, the Trump-backed candidate can be seen brandishing a short-barrelled rifle while he talks to camera.

Mr Blake says the weapon is not for hunting, but is rather designed to kill people, and he supports Americans' right to own it.

Another villain

A group of evil characters, including the Joker and Maleficent, share a “safe space” with South Carolina's Tom Rice portrayed by an actor in this campaign advertisement.

The incumbent for the state’s 7th congressional district, Mr Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr Trump after the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots.

And the campaign video, released by primary challenger Russell Fry, clearly chimed with voters. Mr Fry won the Republican primary and is likely to head to the US Congress in November.

Nothing nice to say about Biden

Poor Joe, bless his heart.

Posted by Kay Ivey on Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Alabama’s incumbent governor doled out on some parental advice while taking a jab at Mr Biden in her campaign advertisement.

Kay Ivey said that if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all, before slipping into an awkward silence.

Ms Ivey easily won the Republican primary and is the favourite to win in November.

Democrats back fringe Republicans

In one of the stranger turns of this primary cycle, Democrats have been seen paying for advertisements that support Republican candidates.

The idea is that if far-right Republicans are given a boost and win in their primary, they will be easier to defeat in the general election.

In the case of Ron Hanks, running for the Republican ticket for one of Colorado’s Senate seats, the tactic did not work. Mr Hanks was beaten in the Republican primary by the more moderate Joe O’Dea.

Fake news!

Republican candidate for Arizona governor, Kari Lake, went full Donald Trump in her first TV advertisement appealing to voters in the state.

Ms Lake included baseless claims of a rigged 2020 presidential election, railed against the media and backed a border wall with Mexico.

She also burnt a surgical mask in an apparent dig at Covid-19 precautions.

Ms Lake won her primary and will face Democrat Katie Hobbs in the November elections.

‘You want the nunchucks?’

This may not be a campaign advertisement, as such, but when a politician brings a weapon to the fight, you can’t help but pay attention.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich pulled out a set of nunchucks before his primary for one of the state’s Senate seats, in a nod to a similar video he posted in 2019.

“You want the nunchucks. You got the nunchucks,” he tweeted.

Unfortunately, the weapon was not enough to help him win his primary, with Mr Brnovich losing to Trump-backed Mr Masters.

Updated: September 06, 2022, 11:30 AM
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