HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Congressional candidate Patrick Branco is demanding that a Super PAC supporting him take down an ad that attacks his opponent, calling the content “sensational.”
The latest ad from VoteVets criticizes Jill Tokuda while including images of school shootings.
“Throughout this campaign, I have raised what I believe are serious questions about Jill Tokuda’s record that voters deserve answers to before they cast their vote,” Branco said. “That being said, Jill Tokuda’s name and image should never be connected to school shootings, and I sincerely hope that VoteVets will stop airing this ad.”
For weeks, VoteVets had been airing a similar ad showing Tokuda and images from the Uvalde shooting. Last week, Branco defended the political action committee on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii.
“Does my opponent want me to be against veterans?” asked Branco.
HNN Political Analyst Colin Moore said Branco has had many opportunities to denounce the ads.
“He didn’t and now he is,” Moore said. “I can’t explain that in any other way other than to think that he’s trying to rehabilitate his image at this point. This seems pretty opportunistic to me.”
Branco has insisted he hasn’t coordinated with VoteVets.
Meanwhile, Tokuda says she never sought the endorsement of the NRA and has supported gun legislation.
“It’s truly unfortunate that mainland, big-money Super PACs have been trying to unfairly influence Hawaii voters,” Tokuda said, in a statement. “It’s gratifying that my opponent finally acknowledges that these outside interests have been distorting the facts about my positions on gun violence and gun control.”
On Thursday, Gov. David Ige also said it’s unfortunate that Super PACs have created an environment where they spend more than the candidate themselves.
“As a candidate I knew any ad that I ran, I had to take responsibility for. These Super PACs don’t care,” Ige said. “They don’t care what’s factual. They distort information and they really are beginning to impact the electorate.”
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