According to a review by American Ledger, a political advertisement featuring several Texas Republican congressional candidates used stock footage of a Russian warship and an Israeli military helicopter to promote their campaigns.
Cut by Representative Dan Crenshaw’s campaign, the ad is inspired by a range of action and spy films and features a slate of candidates running for the House of Representatives in Texas: Wesley Hunt (TX-7), August Pfluger (TX-11), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Genevieve Collins (TX-32), and Crenshaw (TX-2) himself.
The ad’s theme is “Save Texas” and cloaks the candidates in a deluge of American flags and paraphernalia. However, this America-themed ad cuts to stock footage of a destroyer ship and a helicopter, both of which were created by users abroad. The ship was animated in Russia and the helicopter shot is from Israel.
These down ballot Republican candidates are not the only campaign using foreign stock footage to boost their domestic political campaigns. The Trump campaign and its allies have repeatedly made the same mistake, featuring Russian jets on an ad that ran on 9/11, using a Hungarian factory to talk about economic plans, and incorporating Belarusian and Russian actors in an ad about taxes. And at the Republican National Convention, a video promoting President Trump used footage from Russia, Ukraine, Spain, and Thailand.
In 2020, the traditionally Republican-leaning state of Texas is more competitive than it has ever been. All but one of the candidates featured in the “Save Texas” advertisement are in competitive races due to Trump’s increasingly dire numbers in the Lone Star State. Cook Political Report rates their races as follows:
- Texas 32nd – Genevieve Collins – Likely Democratic
- Texas 7th – Wesley Hunt – Likely Democratic
- Texas 23rd – Tony Gonzales – Lean Democratic
- Texas 24th – Beth Van Duyne – Toss-Up
- Texas 2nd – Rep. Dan Crenshaw – Likely Republican
Texas is experiencing unprecedented voter turnout for the 2020 election, with the number of early votes cast already exceeding the number of votes won by candidate Trump in 2016. This trend suggests that after having some of the lowest voter participation of any state, Texas is poised to smash records in November, making every race significantly more competitive.