Group pulls Va. political ad after NYC terror attack, both sides react

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A controversial political ad has been pulled following Tuesday’s terror attack in Lower Manhattan.

The ad was released in Virginia Tuesday by Latino Victory Fund (LVF).

LVF describes itself as a “progressive political action committee with the mission of growing Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government.”

The ad shows a pickup truck flying a Confederate flag chasing minority kids. The truck, driven by a white man, is stamped with a Republican Ed Gillespie bumper sticker.

The children are later shown waking up from a dream.

LVF titled the ad “American Nightmare.”

At the end of the ad, the narrator asks, “Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American Dream?”

When LVF issued the ad, the goal was “encouraging voters of color to reject Gillespie’s implicit endorsement of white supremacists and racist symbols,” the group said in a release. “The powerful ad portrays the stress and worry haunting immigrant families in an increasingly hostile political and social environment.”

But critics have called the ad offensive and disgusting. There were bipartisan calls for it to be dropped.

The group did remove the ad, but only after a pickup truck driver mowed down pedestrians and bicyclists in a New York City terror attack.

LVF posted a statement to Twitter following the attack.

“We knew our ad would ruffle feathers. We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don’t like what they see. We have decided to pull our ad at this time,” said LVF president Cristobal J. Alex.

On Wednesday, state Republican leaders called on Gillespie’s opponent, Democrat Ralph Northam, to denounce the ad.

Speaker-designee Kirk Cox said Northam “missed the mark” and “needs to condemn” it on a call to reporters.

Speaker Bill Howell added, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

That same day, Gillespie’s campaign issued a statement saying, “Northam’s refusal to condemn the ad demonstrates his disdain for any Virginians who simply disagree with him on policy matters.

The Northam campaign said taking down the ad was the “appropriate and right thing to do” and that their candidate is about unifying Virginians, not dividing.

Northam’s communications director, David Turner, said Northam would not have run this ad.

“Let’s be clear though: Ed Gillespie has spent upwards of $9 million making obvious racial appeals,” Turner said in a statement. “Ed Gillespie has stoked fear among Hispanic immigrants. He turned on the stove and now the water is boiling over.”

Turner went on to say, “Latino Victory Fund felt the need to respond to a frontal attack on their community by Ed Gillespie. From what we can see, they have placed a $30,000 cable buy to Gillespie’s $9 million in race-baiting ads.”

LVF said it is replacing the ad with other ads encouraging people to elect progressive leaders in Virginia.

The election is Nov. 7.

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