UPDATE: Charles Booker hopes graphic ad will push toward change
Viewer discretion is advised when watching the campaign ad
UPDATE 9:30 P.M.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A provocative new TV campaign ad was released by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Charles Booker Wednesday. The ad attacks his opponent, Republican incumbent Rand Paul for “not thinking racism is an issue.”
“He’s a contrarian, he’s a crisis actor, he’s a conspiracy theorist. In a lot of ways, he’s an arsonist who is looking to burn down democracy,” says Booker. “He doesn’t think that racism is an issue. He doesn’t think that our pain is valid.”
In going after Paul in his new ad, Booker uses the history of lynching in Kentucky as a backdrop. Booker says creating this ad was one of the hardest thing he’s ever done but felt it necessary to push people toward change.
“A lot of times with politicians like Rand Paul, hate and division are weaponized, they’re stoked, but we don’t deal with the heart of why we’re continuing to see so much pain,” says Booker.
In his ad, Booker calls out Paul for saying Paul would’ve opposed the Civil Rights Act and for holding up the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act in 2020 that would have made lynching a federal hate crime. However, Booker does not mention that Paul went on to cosponsor a new version of that legislation that won bi-partisan support and passed unanimously in March and is now law.
“Our pursuit of democracy is hanging on by a thread right now. The hate and the racism and the attacks on humanity that we’re seeing, they’re only getting worse and we have a chance to fix it together. But it’s going to require the type of courage that I was showing in this ad,” says Booker.
Rand Paul’s camp responded to the ad with a statement that reads “Dr. Paul worked diligently to strengthen the language of this legislation and is a co-sponsor of the bill that now ensures that federal law will define lynching as the absolutely heinous crime that it is. Any attempt to state otherwise is a desperate misrepresentation of the facts.”
Paul’s team also sent background information on his co-sponsorship of the anti-lynching bill which includes a statement from Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker saying Paul’s support helps our nation move forward from some of its darkest chapters.
UPDATE: (WTVQ/ June 1st, 2022.) – In response to Charles Booker’s campaign ad today, Rand Paul’s team released the following statement.
‘“Dr. Paul worked diligently to strengthen the language of this legislation and is a cosponsor of the bill that now ensures that federal law will define lynching as the absolutely heinous crime that it is. Any attempt to state otherwise is a desperate misrepresentation of the facts.”
The team also provided the following information in their release to ABC 36.
‘BACKGROUND – Dr. Paul clearly described his support for strengthening the bill and his work to pass this legislation in this oped for the Courier Journal. https://www.courier-journal.com/story/opinion/2022/03/02/rand-paul-emmett-till-antilynching-act-worth-time-get-right/9344973002/
Sen. Booker sent out a press release celebrating Dr. Paul’s cosponsorship and efforts on this legislation:
Senator Booker released the following statement on Dr. Paul’s cosponsorship of this legislation:
“The effort to pass anti-lynching legislation has spanned more than a century. After 200 failed attempts, Congress is now finally prepared to reckon with America’s history of racialized violence,” said Sen. Booker. “I am proud to announce Senators Paul and Warnock as cosponsors of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. Their support underscores the bipartisan backing that we have to finally meet this moment and help our nation move forward from some of its darkest chapters.” ‘
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/PRESS RELEASE)–– Today the Charles Booker for U.S. Senate campaign released a new ad, drawing a stark comparison between Booker, the first Black Democratic Senatorial candidate in Kentucky’s history, and Senator Rand Paul, who single-handedly blocked legislation that would have made lynching a federal crime in 2020. The ad, which features striking and evocative historical imagery of lynching, can be viewed here. This ad contains graphic images that may not be suitable for all audiences.
“In Kentucky, like many states throughout the south, lynching was a tool of terror,” says Booker in the ad. “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 continues. “My opponent? The very person who compared expanded health care to slavery.”
The advertisement, which two weeks after Charles Booker secured the Democratic nomination by an over 60 percent margin, reflects Booker’s deeply personal connection with the painful history of lynching in Kentucky, as three of his uncles were lynching victims in Kentucky. Saturday, June 4, will mark two years since Rand Paul blocked an antilynching bill.
“My family history, which includes lives taken by lynching, made this advertisement one of the hardest things I have done, in the pursuit of office or otherwise,” Booker said. “I know this video will be jarring for some. My belief is that we must confront the trauma of our history, and my belief is that our common love and sincerity will help us push through the initial shock and come together to recognize our shared humanity, fight for justice, and strengthen our democracy.”
Senator Paul was the only Senator in objection to the Emmett Till Antilynching Act — an objection he made after the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 410-4, claiming that the bill would “cheapen the meaning of lynching.” Paul’s objections were strongly criticized by then-Senator, now Vice President, Kamala Harris, and Senator Cory Booker. To date, there have been over 160 recorded lynchings in Kentucky.
The Emmett Till antilynching act was reintroduced last year, and subsequently passed by unanimous consent in the Senate in March of this year. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on Mar 29, 2022.