Ebola fear has made its way into Delaware’s politics. An ad from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Wade plays on Ebola fears to target incumbent Democrat Sen. Chris Coons, touching on an issue that has become increasingly prevalent in the runup to Senate elections in November.
“This isn't the first time a desperate candidate has resorted to a baseless attack, but this ad is particularly appalling because it seeks to create panic and scare people about their health,” said Coons' campaign spokesperson Jesse Chadderdon.
“It's fear-mongering at its absolute worst and it says an awful lot about Mr. Wade's campaign that his one TV ad seeks to frighten Delawareans instead of offering a vision for the future.”
The one-minute TV spot, which has aired once already and will air during election day, opens with a yellow “caution” sign and the words “Ebola Zone” stamped across the screen in bright red, over a soundtrack of ominous violin strings, heavy breathing and a beeping heart monitor.
A man in a white hazmat suit appears, holding a sign with a changing array of slogans such as “Why won’t Chris Coons stop Ebola as chairman of the subcommittee on Africa.” It cites one of his recent tweets on the topic, and his stance against banning flights from Ebola-affected countries, which echoes that of the World Health Organization and other international agencies, but has become a contentious issue among American politicians.
â€” Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) October 12, 2014
Coons told reporters this week that U.S. policies shouldn’t discourage American health workers from going to help in West Africa.
“The only way we can truly keep Americans safe here at home … is to continue to work hard to fight Ebola where it’s broken out in the now four West African countries where it has taken off and where it has threatened tens of thousands,” he told the Huffington Post.
As the ominous chords hit a crescendo, the final message reads: “is Coons protecting the people of Delaware or being politically correct?”
Here is the video in full:
The ad is not the first time politicians have invoked Ebola in the runup to the midterms. Republicans like Wade and Jeb Bush have accused the Obama administration of not doing enough to protect Americans, the Wall Street Journal reported, while Democrats blame GOP budget cuts for Ebola’s fast spread, as represented in another Ebola-themed ad from the Agenda Project, a liberal group.
The one-minute spot edits together images of body bags, hazmat suits and health workers in West Africa with Republicans making public speeches about funding cuts.
The Ebola virus has infected more than 13,500 people and has killed at least 4,900 in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. So far, there have been five American Ebola patients, four of whom are now Ebola-free after treatment at health centers around the country. President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that the disease will be “defeated” and that Americans should not be afraid.