Catherine Templeton, Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina, is shown in her latest TV ad firing a .38 revolver that she says her "granddaddy" gave her, in an obvious effort to pander to the Palmetto State's many gun toting voters -- and, of course, the National Rifle Association.
Templeton is a leading contender to unseat incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, a good-ole boy type who ascended to the governorship when former Gov. Nikki Haley was appointed U.N. ambassador by President Trump. In his latest ad, McMaster extolls the state's virtues, and then in his best South Carolina drawl says, "We gonna keep it that way."
But a candidate for the highest office in the state actually firing a pistol in a campaign commercial? Obviously, her campaign team believes that plays well in SC, but what about now in the aftermath of the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, TX? Isn't it, at least, in poor taste?
In the ad, Templeton, who describes herself in other commercials as a "conservative buzzsaw," fires the .38 twice, purportedly at a snake shown in a separate image. She says her "granddaddy" gave her the gun to shoot snakes around her family's fishing trailer.
The ad talks about fixing corruption and wasteful government spending, a consistent target for Templeton in her campaign. She aims the gun toward the ground and fires two rounds.
"We can't shoot the snakes slithering around Columbia," says Templeton, "but we will end their poisonous big government ways."
Templeton's been taking some hits for her ad on social media, with many on Facebook saying it's misguided, particularly in the current environment with so many shootings by guns, especially in our schools.
But gun ownership is a powerful issue in South Carolina, a state that has seen its share of tragedy by guns -- including the deadly Charleston church mass shooting in 2015 and a shooting at Townville elementary school in 2016 that killed a first grade student. Nearly six in 10 South Carolinians live in a home with a gun, according to reliable reports.
Efforts failed in this year's legislative session to tighten background checks, which proponents said would have presented the Charleston church massacre, even though polls show that 85 percent of state gun owners favor requiring such background checks.
And so we have a candidate for the state's highest office who think it's just fine to go on TV and fire a pistol in a blatant effort to win votes.
Welcome to South Carolina.