With less than a week to go before voters head to the polls, the Republican candidate for a vacant seat in the state Senate is up with a new TV ad declaring “the St. Louis riots have made Missouri a national disgrace.”
Republican Mike Cierpiot, 64, is facing off with Democrat Hillary Shields, 33, and independent Jacob Turk, 61.
Cierpiot has raised far more money than his competitors, and is getting six-figure help from Republican political action committees. That money is helping flood TVs in the 8th Senate District in eastern Jackson County with pro-Cierpiot ads, the latest of which is titled “Safer Missouri.”
In the ad, images of protesters tipping over a police car are juxtaposed with Cierpiot promising to ensure law enforcement has the tools it needs to keep communities safe. He promises to combat heroine and opioid abuse over video of a drug deal, and then vows to stiffen penalties for drug offenders and anyone who assaults a police officer.
For more than a month, protests have been a regular occurrence in St. Louis in response to the acquittal of a white St. Louis police officer charged with murdering a black suspect. Despite some property damage and clashes with police in the evening hours last month, the vast majority of protesters have refrained from violence or vandalism.
The video in Cierpiot’s ad appears to be from the 2014 protests in Ferguson.
The ad sparked a discussion on Twitter, specifically its focus on St. Louis.
From St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jason Rosenbaum:
From David Steelman, a member of the University of Missouri board of curators:
From former KCUR producer Matthew Hodapp:
From Jackson County Democratic Party Executive Director Geoff Gerling:
From former AP reporter and communications consultant Scott Charton:
In another new ad paid for by Ciepiot’s campaign, the narrator repeats the accusation that Democrats worked to help Turk get on the ballot to split GOP votes and tip the election to Shields, which Turk vehemently denies.
The ad then says Shields would “use our tax dollars to provide scholarships for illegals.”
Two years ago, the General Assembly passed legislation saying Missouri students who were brought to the U.S. as young children by their parents and are undocumented cannot receive in-state tuition. Universities also were prohibited from providing these Missouri students with scholarships.