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Republican Kathy Landing calls Democrat Joe Cunningham 'self-promoting talker' in campaign ad

Kathy Landing headshot (new) (copy)

Mount Pleasant Town Councilwoman Kathy Landing is a Republican running for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District seat. Her campaign released a new ad on Tuesday called "Adults." File/Provided

Republican Kathy Landing's newest TV ad blasts incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham as a grandstanding congressman, countering she is the one with the experience to be in Washington.

Called "Adults," the 30-second spot cites Landing's 35 years of experience in financial planning as a chief example of how the Mount Pleasant councilwoman can help President Donald Trump as the nation recovers from the economic and emotional impact of the novel coronavirus. 

The ad opens with darkened images of visibly stressed families and individuals, and quickly cycles through footage of the New York Stock Exchange and "closed for business" signs going up on windows.

A male voiceover narrates.

"Our nation panicked. Our markets volatile. Small businesses in peril. We need adults in Congress to help President Trump restore stability," the voiceover says.

Ten seconds into the ad, Landing speaks for herself.

"I approve this message because assessing financial situations, budgeting and planning for an uncertain future are what I do every day," Landing says.

The ad fades to an image of Cunningham holding an air horn during a House subcommittee meeting, where he demonstrated how disruptive seismic blast testing can be for sea creatures during offshore fossil fuel exploration.

"Congress has enough self-promoting talkers," the male narrator booms. "This is a time for real expertise and real leadership."

At 57, Landing is the oldest Republican candidate running in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. 

This is not the first time Landing has cast herself as the mature and measured choice in the race. When she announced her candidacy last year, she made a similar appeal.

"Rather than attention-seeking stunts, we need a more thoughtful, and dare I say mature, approach in Congress," she said.

Landing's campaign told The Post and Courier that the ad began airing Tuesday on cable and digital platforms.

The new spot does not come with an additional media buy, but will instead join the $125,000 of airtime the campaign has already reserved up to the June 9 primary.

This is Landing's third district-wide ad since entering the race. It is her second to air in 2020.

Cunningham's campaign responded by questioning Landing's claims of leadership.

"Joe remains focused on making sure Lowcountry families and seniors are safe during this time and that small businesses and workers get the help they need to provide for their families. Instead of attacking others, we should be working together to get through this crisis," Cunningham's campaign manager Allie Watters said in a statement.

With this new ad, the battle for the GOP nomination intensified between Landing and Nancy Mace, another GOP contender. In recent weeks, the two campaigns have gone back and forth with dueling endorsements and TV ads. Two weeks ago, Mace began airing her own TV ad that touted her ties to the Trump administration and featured Vice President Mike Pence praising her accomplishments.

Despite the competitive Republican primary, Landing's latest ad focused on Cunningham rather than Mace. 

The seat is a top priority for Republicans as they hope to regain control of the House. Trump carried the coastal district by 13 points in 2016, but Cunningham won the seat two years later when he narrowly defeated Republican state Rep. Katie Arrington.

Landing is one of four Republicans running to challenge Cunningham in November. The other GOP contenders are Bikers for Trump co-founder Chris Cox and Bluffton community development leader Brad Mole.

Both have stuck to social media to get their message out rather than major TV ad dollars.

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Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.

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