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Why this U.S. House candidate in Colorado got pepper sprayed in the face on purpose

Colorado U.S. House candidate uses pepper spray on himself

A Colorado candidate for the United States House of Representatives used pepper spray on himself to champion the idea of giving teachers pepper spray instead of guns to keep their classrooms safe.
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A Colorado candidate for the United States House of Representatives used pepper spray on himself to champion the idea of giving teachers pepper spray instead of guns to keep their classrooms safe.

Campaign ads don't usually come with a warning like this: "This is dangerous, do not attempt."

But those words flash on the screen in a new campaign commercial for Levi Tillemann, a former Obama administration official and progressive candidate for Congress in Colorado.

Tillemann takes a face full of pepper spray in the ad.

He criticizes talk of arming classroom teachers with guns and instead champions the idea of giving them pepper spray.

"I'm calling on Congress to stop talking past each other and try something new," Tillemann says in the ad. "Empower schools and teachers with non-lethal self-defense tools, like this can of pepper spray.

"Pepper spray doesn't cost much and it can be safely stored in a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency cabinet. But it's powerful and won't accidentally kill a kid."

Trust me, he says. "This will stop anyone in their tracks."

And then he gets blasted in the face with pepper spray. The yellow, gooey-looking substance coats his face around his eyes as a warning flashes on the screen: "This is dangerous, do not attempt."

With dramatic music playing, he is shown dunking his head into a plastic container full of blue, sudsy liquid. He pulls his head out and says: "It's incredibly painful. And now I just can't see anything."

He can see enough, though, to blast his eyeballs with water from a garden hose.

pepper spray hose.jpg

"Wow. That's intense," he says before dunking his head again in the container of sudsy water.

Statistics about guns flash across the screen.

Tillemann is running for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in November, according to The Hill.

Tillemann made headlines last year when he secretly recorded House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland asking him to get out of the race.

"The Hoyer tape pulls back the curtain on Washington’s swamp – and the people who are willing to be part of it," Tillemann wrote in an editorial published in the Sentinel in Aurora.

The leading candidate in the June 26 primary is attorney Jason Crow, an Army veteran, according to The Hill.

The campaign ad has attracted attention far beyond the political arena. Deadspin wrote about it under this headline: "Bitchin' Politician Just Blasts Himself Right In The Eyeballs With Pepper Spray!"

Warning: Explicit language. Man who was pepper-sprayed during protests that turned violent in the Delmar Loop in University City, Mo., is aided by a bystander who offers a solution to ease the pain. People were in the Loop to protest the not-guilt

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