Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Charles Booker is featured in a new ad for his campaign, wearing a noose around his neck in an aim to target the state and country’s dark history of racism, TMZ reports.
The ad opens with a content warning, notifying viewers of “strong imagery.” At the beginning of the video, a noose is tied to a tree as the Senate hopeful begins to discuss the history of lynching in Kentucky, NBC News reports.
“The pain of our past persists to this day,” he says in the video. “In Kentucky, like many states throughout the South, lynching was a tool of terror. It was used to kill hopes for freedom. It was used to kill my ancestors.”
As he continues, Booker appears in a suit jacket with a noose around his neck.
“Now, in a historic victory for our commonwealth, I have become the first Black Kentuckian to receive the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate,” he said.
Booker also addresses his opponent incumbent, Rand Paul.
“My opponent?” he says as an image of Rand appears. “The very person who compared expanded health care to slavery. The person who said he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act. The person who single-handedly blocked an anti-lynching act from being federal law.”
Rand’s comments about the Civil Rights Act were met with a lot of backlash in 2013, The Washington Post reports.
“It’s a mischaracterization of my position. I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever, and I continue to be for the Civil Rights Act as well as the Voting Rights Act,” he said, clarifying his comments, according to the Post. “There was a long, one interview that had a long, extended conversation about the ramifications beyond race, and I have been concerned about the ramifications of certain portions of the Civil Rights Act beyond race, as they are now being applied to smoking, menus, listing calories and things on menus, and guns. And so I do question some of the ramifications and the extensions but I never questioned the Civil Rights Act and never came out in opposition to the Civil Rights Act or ever introduced anything to alter the Civil Rights Act.”
In the campaign ad, Booker says Paul’s stance and comments should signal the need for a Democratic senator.
“The choice couldn’t be clearer,” he says. “Do we move forward together or do we let politicians like Rand Paul forever hold us back and drive us apart?”
Booker concludes the video, removing the noose and urging people to vote for him in November.
“In November, we will choose healing,” he said. “We will choose Kentucky.”