If it seems like the elections are uglier than usual this cycle, you’re not alone. The problems range from fact-checkers offering up a one-sided view of Joe Biden’s thoughts on the Second Amendment, baseless accusations designed to smear Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, to a New York congressional candidate alleging that the Republican incumbent took part in a mock lynching of New York governor Andrew Cuomo this past weekend.
The so-called lynching of an effigy of Cuomo was actually a mock trial of that featured a life-size Cuomo marionette, and Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs (NY-27) wasn’t there when the puppet was wheeled out, but none of that seems to matter to Jacobs’ challenger Nate McMurray, who shared this bizarre attack ad complete with (overly loud) ominous music and heavily edited video from the rally, which was put on by a pro-Second Amendment group called the 1791 Society.
This is footage of the mock trial and lynching of Governor Andrew Cuomo that my opponent joined today. It’s horrific. They put scary music over it, but its fitting. This is scary stuff, like watching Mad Max.
They did this at a Town Hall! Don’t write him; write the News! pic.twitter.com/85Pr5xSTH0
— Nate McMurray for Congress 2020 (@Nate_McMurray) September 27, 2020
The funniest part of McMurray’s tweet above is his “scary stuff” comment, especially given the fact that the ad criticizes Jacobs for preaching “doom” at the rally. The ad’s evidence? Two seconds of the Republican congressman saying “We are at times like we haven’t seen in a long, long time.”
Uh, that’s not doom-saying. If anything, it’s underselling the point. We’ve got the Left comparing Donald Trump to you-know-who on a daily basis, but McMurray would never accuse someone like Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank of doom-casting. No, McMurray’s outrage is a one-way street.
The ad is replete with scary phrases like “mostly maskless,” “QAnon,” and “elitist” as it alternately tries to terrify and outrage the viewer over Jacobs’ supposed radicalism and make them angry over the fact that his family has a lot of money. Jacobs, however, isn’t actually a part of the family business. In a bizarre twist, it’s actually McMurray who works for the Jacobs family, serving as vice president of business development for the company called Delaware North.
Founded by the Jacobs family in 1915, Delaware North reports annual revenues of $3 billion, employs more than 55,000 people and serves half a billion customers annually on four continents. Chris Jacobs never joined the family business, according to casino.org, opting instead for a career in politics.
In a number of twitter posts, McMurray blasted the Jacobs family with tweets like this one Feb. 15:
“My opponent was coddled since birth.The heir to a casino fortune/medical fortune, but kept out of the business. I had a woman tell me she tutored him as a child and felt honored. But what did our prince grow up to be? A sell out politician who suddenly loves Trump.
The current fight over the NY-27 congressional seat is a rematch of the special election held back in June, when Jacobs beat McMurray 52-47. Clearly what Democrats did in the special election didn’t work for them, so now they’re attacking Jacobs wherever they can, including his recent appearance at the 1791 Society’s rally.
Pressed for a comment on the mock trial and the subsequent beating of the Cuomo effigy, Jacobs’ political consultant, Cam Savage, said that while Jacobs didn’t see it, “it seems like an unnecessary attempt at political satire that went too far.”
That’s certainly what Democrats think.
“As we have learned through history, disgusting displays, like the one that took place outside the Hamburg Town Hall near Buffalo this past weekend, are often just precursors of potentially even more and real violence coming in the future,” said New York State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs. “We can engage in legitimate debate on even the most contentious of issues. But when that debate devolves into the display of violent, hateful symbols, like the hanging in effigy of our governor, decent people everywhere need to speak out.”
Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner spoke out, too, calling for Jacobs and Joshua Mertzlufft, a Republican State Senate candidate who spoke at the event, “to denounce this action.”
As the Buffalo News points out, however, the Cuomo puppet and even the mock trial is nothing new for Melbourne Sann, the owner of the puppet who’s been putting on similar displays for several years.
Zellner said there was a noose around the neck of the Cuomo effigy, but video of the event does not show that, and the organizer of the event, Frank J. Panasuk, said Sann did not use a noose during his performance at the rally.
“He could have used a fancy hangman’s noose or something like that, and we wouldn’t have allowed that,” said Panasuk, who heads the 1791 Society, a gun rights group. “And you know, he didn’t. It was a puppet, that’s all.”
News accounts show that Sann, of Rome, N.Y., has been traveling with his Cuomo effigy since at least 2014. And a New York Daily News account of a gun rights rally in Albany that year describes him spanking the Cuomo “puppet” with a piece of wood shaped like an assault rifle – until a State Police officer confiscated the piece of wood.
It’s a goofy bit of political theater, but McMurray and Buffalo-area Democrats are desperate to try to turn into a symbolic lynching of the governor for their own political purposes, even if Chris Jacobs wasn’t a part of it.
As for McMurray’s own position on the Second Amendment, the Democrat has made it abundantly clear that he considers himself to be the “Beto of Buffalo, New York” with tweets like this.
YEP. I’M COMING FOR YOUR AR15
You heard me. No apologies. The same reason you don’t need a lion to protect your home, is why you don’t need a rifle that shoots at 3X the speed of sound and splits concrete like ice. It’s an unreasonable risk.
End the mass shooter era in America
— Nate McMurray for Congress 2020 (@Nate_McMurray) June 25, 2019
If you live in the Buffalo area and you want an angry, bitter, anti-gun guy as your next congresscritter, I’d say Nate McMurray’s your guy. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a Second Amendment supporter who It looks to me like as we get closer to the election, McMurray’s growing more desperate in his attacks on Jacobs. I can’t help but wonder how low McMurray will go between now and Election Day.