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Fourth District Dem candidate reportedly pulls offensive shotgun ad

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A Yakima Democratic congressional candidate reportedly pulled an advertisement over the weekend that showed him firing a shotgun at an elephant-shaped piñata that even drew criticism from the group founded by former Democrat Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords of Arizona for being “irresponsible and offensive,” according to Newsday.

Estakio Beltran, who is running to replace retiring Congressman Doc Hastings this fall, is the guy who last month criticized Republican Clint Didier for offering a gun-giveaway as part of his congressional campaign effort. At the time, Beltran complained, “I am a strong upholder of the Constitution and fully support the Second Amendment rights of all Americans,” Beltran told a reporter. “However, as a congressional candidate, I am sensitive to the grief that many here in Washington may be feeling as a result of recent tragedies.”

Beltran is hardly the first would-be politician to use a firearm in an advertisement. In his case, however, Beltran opens fire on the symbol of the GOP with a 12-gauge pump shotgun. It was hardly a subtle image, and the Seattle Times even mentioned it.

In a statement from Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group started by Giffords and husband Mark Kelly – both of whom appeared in January to testify in support of Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure now on the November ballot – Beltran was chastised. The group said “This kind of misguided imagery and rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum just furthers the lack of balance in our nation's debate about guns.”

Beltran’s campaign website says he once worked for Sen. Maria Cantwell, one of the Evergreen State’s two anti-gun Democrats on Capitol Hill. He picked the wrong district for this kind of political imagery, as the Fourth District is hardcore “gun country” where former Congressman and now Gov. Jay Inslee lasted one term before he was voted out of office during the 1994 Republican Revolution in part for supporting Bill Clinton’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

The Newsday story said Beltran's advertisement was pulled from YouTube Saturday, but Examiner found it still available Monday afternoon.

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