GOP Senator's 'Mass Murder' Ad Quickly Removed After Highland Park Shooting

A badly timed ad from the campaign of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was taken off the air "ASAP" this week.
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A Republican senator reportedly wanted an awkwardly inaccurate radio ad about the cause of the “latest mass murder” off the air after the Highland Park, Illinois, shooting on Monday.

The campaign of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who is seeking reelection, wanted the ad that downplayed gun violence stopped after the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade that left at least seven people dead and dozens of others injured, according to emails detailed by The Intercept.

“The latest mass murder in America didn’t involve guns,” the ad begins, then it talks about the 53 people who were found dead or dying in a sweltering tractor-trailer left on the outskirts of San Antonio on June 27 in an apparent migrant smuggling operation.

You can listen to the radio ad below.

A vice president of sales at Katz Radio Group — a group that works for radio stations to sell ad space — relayed that Johnson’s campaign wanted the ad “pulled ASAP” one day after the Highland Park shooting.

The Katz Radio executive said, “If you listened to the spot, it talks about mass shootings, which obviously is not good creative after this past weekend (especially in Chicago).”

Johnson has been a gun control opponent and been given an 83% or higher rating by groups including the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Gun Owners of America in years past, according to the nonprofit Vote Smart.

A 21-year-old man has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in connection with the parade shooting. The suspect allegedly legally bought the gun, which police described as a “high-powered rifle,” according to Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering.

Johnson is in a close race for a third term. He “slightly” trailed three possible Democratic candidates in mid-June polling, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Clarification: This article has been updated to clarify that Katz Radio Group relayed the request to pull the ad but did not make the decision to do so.

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