GOP senate candidate doubles down on ad pointing to opponent’s Jewishness

“We keep electing people like this, we’ll just keep getting the same terrible results,” the radio ad says.

By World Israel News Staff

Republican Senate candidate Mark Pukita is doubling down on a controversial ad campaign that appears to many as antisemitic, Politico reported.

The ad focused on the fact that his opponent, Josh Mandel, is Jewish, seemingly warning voters not to lose sight of that fact.

Pukita, an IT entrepreneur, was referring to a radio ad created that criticized Mandel for courting evangelical Christians and frequently visiting churches on the campaign trail, Politico wrote.

“Are we seriously supposed to believe the most Christian-values Senate candidate is Jewish?” a voice actor asks in Pukita’s radio ad. “I am so sick of these phony caricatures.”

“I agree,” a woman replies in the ad. “We keep electing people like this, we’ll just keep getting the same terrible results.”

Thursday night, at a candidates’ debate organized by the Ohio Press Network at North Columbus Baptist Church, a moderator asked Pukita to respond to claims that he is “antisemitic and intentionally divisive and inflammatory,” the Politico report said.

Pukita, the report continued, doubled down and defended the ad.

“In terms of antisemitism, all I did in an ad was pointed out that Josh is going around saying he’s got the Bible in one hand and the constitution in the other. But he’s Jewish,” Pukita said. “Everybody should know that though, right?”

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Bernie Moreno, another Republican in the race who spoke next, slammed Pukita’s response, according to Politico.

“Josh, nobody should question your faith. That’s not right,” Moreno said. “The Jewish religion, the Bible is the Bible. That was hard to hear. I’m sorry about that. That’s not right. We’re better than that, guys.”

Robert Gray, a campaign spokesperson, defended Pukita. “Mark Pukita is absolutely, unequivocally, undeniably a complete supporter of religious tolerance and of Israel,” he stated. “He is not a supporter of phonies and panderers.”

Mandel, a former state treasurer and member of the Ohio state House and 2012 Republican nominee against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, is leading the seven-way primary, while Pukita seems not to have strong support in the race, Politico noted.