The first political casualty of the Dallas sniper assassinations could be a conservative Republican running for Congress in Georgia.
Early this morning, before the news from Texas began to sink in, Third District congressional runoff candidate Drew Ferguson began running this TV attack ad aimed at state Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newan, alleging that he had endorsed the shooting of police officers:
The ad was put together several weeks ago and has since been pulled from the airwaves out of deference to the events in Dallas, campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said. But it will remain available on YouTube, he said. Airing on TV will resume Monday.
The 30-second ad focuses on Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley. A partial transcript:
“I’m Sheriff Mike Jolley. I put my life on the line. But politician Mike Crane said if police came into his home with a warrant, he’d shoot ‘em dead. Then he encouraged others to shoot officers. That’s despicable. Now he wants to be our congressman. No way. Telling people it’s okay to shoot police officers will get my people killed. It’s wrong. I support my friend, Drew Ferguson.”
Crane’s remarks were made in reference to no-knock warrants. At a GOP gathering this spring, Crane said he thinks them illegal. From a post last month:
“You come to my house, kick down my door — if I have an opportunity, I will shoot you dead,” Crane said.
An “amen” can be heard in the recording, coming from the crowd.
“And every one of you should do the same. It is the only area where the law enforcement community and I differ,” Crane said. “But they have to understand the law.”
Here’s the video that provides more context for Crane's remarks:
In response, the Crane campaign gave us a statement from the candidate's father, Bill Crane, a former officer with the Alexandria, Va., police department:
"As a former police officer, I am deeply offended and angered by the latest desperate smear attack coming from Drew Ferguson. At a time when we should be mourning and praying for the families of our fallen brethren in Dallas, it is disgusting that a politician would try to exploit the tragedy of fallen officers by releasing an ad the day after this tragic shooting to score political points. At a time when there is so much unrest among citizens and public safety officials, it is completely irresponsible and dangerous for Mr. Ferguson to make these accusations. Drew Ferguson needs to pull this shameless ad off the air and apologize. I'm ashamed of you, Drew Ferguson. "