Paul Broun, a former congressman, is running again in a Georgia district that is 88% white.
Paul Broun, a Republican running for Congress in Georgia, released a racist ad on Tuesday in which he touted the efficiency of a semi-automatic rifle in dealing with people from the majority-black city of Atlanta.
"In uncertain times like these, the right to defend yourself, your property, and your family could not be more important," said Broun, who represented Georgia's 10th Congressional District from 2007 to 2015.
"Whether it's looting hordes from Atlanta or a tyrannical government from Washington, there are few better liberty machines than an AR-15," he added, brandishing one of the rifles.
More than half of Atlanta's residents are black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Broun, who lives in the town of Gainesville, is now running for Congress in the 9th Congressional District, which is 88% white and located 75 miles from the Georgia capital.
Broun is giving away an AR-15 to "one lucky person" who signs up for email updates on his website.
"God bless America," Broun said at the end of the ad, after shooting his rifle into an empty field.
"While people across Georgia are coming together to fight a global pandemic that is already devastating our state, Paul Broun is more interested in using racist dog whistles to divide Georgians," Maggie Chambers, a spokesperson for the Georgia Democratic Party, said in an email.
Broun has a history of making insensitive and racist remarks.
In 2008, he compared President-elect Barack Obama to Hitler.
"That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany," Broun said of a policy idea Obama floated during the campaign of using civilians for some of the national security functions within the military.
In 2010, Broun questioned whether Obama was born in the United States, joining a racist birther movement aimed at delegitimizing the first black U.S. president.
In a Tuesday phone interview, Broun said that he did not single out Atlanta in his ad for any particular reason, even though it is not in his congressional district. He adamantly denied that race played into his decision to mention the city.
"I reject your premise that this is a racial issue because it's not," he said. "I don't even think in those terms."
He added, "If you look historically, we've seen looting hordes in major cities" during economic downturns. He said that examples of "looting hordes," which he also referred to as "marauding hordes," have been "very well-documented" in the past few years.
When pressed for a specific example, Broun did not provide one.
Reached for comment about possible "hordes" of looters, a spokesperson for the Gainesville Police Department said in an email that he was not aware of any concerns about the issue.
"As you are aware, many times rumors or nonvalidated information gets circulated," he added.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.