WASHINGTON — A Republican running in Georgia's seven-way Senate primary released Friday an ad featuring a fake phone call from President Barack Obama.
Rep. Jack Kingston, an 11-term member of the U.S. House seeking to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, includes audio of an Obama impersonator asking Kingston to stop trying to repeal the president's signature national health care law. The ad comes as polls show a close race ahead of the May 20 primary.
"Kingston, this is the president. You've got to back off Obamacare," the fake Obama says in the ad while black-and-white photos of the president appear on the screen.
"Kingston, let me be clear: I do not want you in the Senate. Call me back, Kingston, please," the fake Obama adds.
Kingston then appears on screen in color. "A call to stop fighting Obamacare is one call I'll never answer," he says into the camera.
The ad comes as voters start to pay closer attention to a race that lacks a clear front-runner.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin this week visited the state to campaign with Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state. And businessman David Perdue has been dogged by off-the-cuff comments he made about education and Handel, who has only a high school diploma.
Kingston, who ended last year with $3.4 million in the bank, leads the pack on the most recent fundraising reports. Rep. Phil Gingrey, a six-term lawmaker, reported ending the year with $2.3 million. Perdue, cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, ended the year with almost $1.8 million in the bank after lending his campaign $1 million.
Rep. Paul Broun, a favorite of some tea party groups, reported $187,000 in the bank while Handel reported just shy of $328,000. Handel's campaign said it had raised $100,000 since Palin announced the endorsement last week.
Republicans Art Gardner and Derrick Grayson are also running.
On the Democratic side, likely nominee Michelle Nunn is competing against Steen Miles, Branko "Rad" Radulovacki and Todd Anthony Robinson.
Nunn, a former executive at the nonprofit Points of Light Foundation, used former President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, in her first ad.