The Arizona Democratic Party has sent out a couple of mailers targeting the Republican candidate in CD9, Vernon Parker, and they're bright any colorful ads -- except for Parker's picture.
Not only has Parker made it known that he thinks the ad is an offensive shot at his race, it also has self-described "liberal Democrat" Reverend Jarrett Maupin upset -- and he's planning on doing something about it.
The Rev. told us it certainly looked like the state Democratic Party was trying to portray Parker as an "angry black man," and said it reminded him of the same kind of racially motivated things that have targeted President Obama over the years.
"Somebody decided that it would hurt Vernon to make him blacker, that it would stir something in voters if he were made to look like a villainous field-negro cut-out from some Jim Crow-era minstrel-show poster," Maupin says. "These photos are insulting and do not respect the ethnicity of Vernon, President Obama and all Black Democrats."
Maupin wants the party and Parker's Democratic opponent, Kyrsten Sinema, to apologize to Parker and the black community. If that doesn't happen, Maupin says he and others are going to make this in issue with members of the black community in CD9.
Based on the party demographics in the district, the race between Parker and Sinema could quite possibly be the closest congressional race in the state. The district is believed to have a slight Democrat advantage, which is the likely reason Republican Congressmen Ben Quayle and David Schweikert ended up in a primary against one another in another district.
That said, African-Americans -- many of whom tend to vote Democrat, by a large majority -- make up almost five percent of the district's voters. That could be trouble if Maupin's message gets through.
"As a minority, Ms. Sinema should understand how hurtful this literature is," Maupin says. "She has fought for respect for L.G.B.T.Q., but does she herself respect B-L-A-C-K?"
The ad wasn't sent out by Sinema's campaign, but Maupin and Parker have said they are holding Sinema responsible for this too.
Sinema's campaign told Channel 3's Dennis Welch that they had nothing to do with it, and a state Democrat Party spokesman told him that it's an "inconsequential matter."
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"Arizona has been a state for 100 years, and in 100 years we haven't had one Black Congressperson ever elected," Maupin says in a statement he's since released on the matter. "How will we ever, whether they are liberal or conservative, if people don't stop making the 'color' of their skin more important than the content of their character?"
Also of note, both Parker and Maupin voiced their complaints of racism during Parker's last run for Congress, when then-candidate Ben Quayle said Parker could "quickly become the national poster boy for the Democratic Party."
The mailers in question can be seen below: