WASHINGTON -- Sporting a cowboy hat and a brown brush jacket like the one worn by Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain," Ohio congressional candidate Angela Zimmann (D) launched a new ad Thursday that spoofs Rick Perry's now infamous campaign spot challenging gay service members' right to serve openly.
"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a pastor," said Zimmann in the video, riffing on the script of Perry's original ad, "but you don't need to be in the pulpit every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when a special interest lackey like Bob Latta can serve openly in the House of Representatives."
Zimmann, a writing professor at Bowling Green State University, is challenging Latta, the Republican incumbent, for the congressional seat in Ohio's 5th District.
The video, sent to The Huffington Post through its citizen journalism project OfftheBus, is just the latest in a massive trove of Perry ad spoofs on YouTube. But Zimmann seems to be the first person to use the meme in an actual campaign.
"In our district, we feel like in order to win as a Democrat, you have to be tough and you also have to have a sense of humor," Zimmann told The Huffington Post. The rural district, which borders Michigan, voted overwhelmingly for Republican Gov. John Kasich in 2010. But when Kasich attempted to drastically cut bargaining powers for public-sector unions this November, the district's voters rejected the measure by an even bigger margin, according to Zimmann.
Zimmann took last month's results as a sign her district is ready for a change. "He has no real focus on the people here," she said of Latta. "It's all Washington, D.C., and the megarich, the big banks, the big oil; that's what he cares about. He doesn't care about the people in our district."
The ad was also aimed at Perry and his appeals to the conservative Christian movement. Zimmann is the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Riga, Mich., just over the state line from her district. In addition to promoting her campaign, she wanted to rebut Perry's notion of what Christian politics should look like, she said.
"We feel like the focus ... should be on caring for the poor and the needy and the weakest in our society who need our assistance. That's what the Gospel is about," said Zimmann. "So if we're going to call ourselves a Christian nation, and we're going to be a Christian district then we'd better get about the business of helping the poor and following what Jesus told us to do."
Full script of the video:
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a pastor, but you don't need to be in the pulpit every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when a special interest lackey like Bob Latta can serve openly in the House of Representatives but our kids can't afford to celebrate Christmas or afford to get a decent education.
As your new Congresswoman, I'll end Latta's war on the middle class and fight to make Washington work for us for a change. Good jobs and fair wages helped to make America strong, and can make her stronger in the future.
I'm Angela Zimmann. My tongue is in my cheek and I approve this message.
OfftheBus is seeking campaign materials from the 2012 races. If you happen to have copies of any mailers, recorded fundraising calls or commercials, or photos of campaign signs/events from the 2012 races, email them to email@example.com.