During his 2010 Senate re-election campaign, John McCain (R-Ariz.) cut one of the most infamous ads of the cycle: a spot with him strolling down the border with Mexico and encouraging Sheriff Paul Babeu to "complete the danged fence."
The ad kept a potentially threatening primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth at bay, but not without cost to McCain's reputation as a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform.
The senator has since tried to repair that image by pushing reform as a member of the Gang of Eight. But his opponent this cycle isn't going to let him forget his 2010 flirtation with the border-security-first crowd.
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's Senate campaign is releasing a new ad that resurfaces the danged-fence spot for Arizonans who may have forgotten. The ad, done in Spanish, will debut in the Phoenix and Tucson markets on Univision during the big Copa America soccer games Thursday and Saturday, according to a Kirkpatrick aide.
"McCain doesn’t want you to know who he really is," the chyron of the Kirkpatrick ad reads, noting that McCain actually did try to have the initial commercial blocked from YouTube after Kirkpatrick's campaign uploaded it and added Spanish subtitles.
McCain's spokesperson Lorna Romero noted in an email that Kirkpatrick's ad buy was under $3,000 total -- quite small -- while adding the following response:
This is yet another cheap attack from Democrat Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick who is trying desperately to hide her hypocrisy on border security. Just last week, she publicly stated that the border needs to be secured and that local ranchers are 'afraid.' This comes on the heels of Kirkpatrick-supporting interest groups making derogatory statements about Hispanic leaders backing John McCain, referring to the group as a ‘fake business coalition,' conducting the customary political 'taco stop' and stating that McCain was putting on his 'Hispanic sombrero.'
John McCain recently received the endorsement of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the first political endorsement in the history of the organization, and the National Border Patrol Council. He is a proud champion for reforming our broken immigration system and securing our border and has a strong record of representing all the people of Arizona, including our vitally important Hispanic community.
Arizona's demographics are changing rapidly, with Hispanics making up a larger portion of the voting public. And so, while McCain was able to move away from the danged-fence spot after his 2010 primary (having a weak general election opponent certainly helped), it could prove trickier in 2016. Certainly having Donald Trump at the head of the ticket portends a big Hispanic turnout -- a factor Kirkpatrick's campaign made sure to emphasize in the ad as well, with a screenshot of an article saying "McCain Places Trump Before Latinos To Get Re-Elected."