A Republican candidate for Congress in South Florida is looking to stand out by indicting Hillary Clinton. In a straight-to-camera TV ad, attorney Rick Kozell tells voters that "Hillary Clinton should be in prison" for a slew of reasons.
"She sold her power to the highest bidder, jeopardized our national security, and then lied about it," says Kozell, as headlines from Breitbart News and the Washington Free Beacon make his point. "Hillary is what's wrong with Washington, and we have had it with corrupt political insiders."
While national Republican groups and super PACs are looking at ways to use Clinton's high unfavorable numbers in downballot races, Kozell's ad is aimed at primary voters. The first-time candidate has raised close to $600,000 for a crowded race against some better-known Republicans, in a race seen as winnable thanks to Rep. Patrick Murphy's (D-Fla.) run for Senate.
And candidates have broken out with I-can't-believe-he-said-that spots in the past, as Ben Quayle learned when his monotone delivery of the line "Barack Obama is the worst president in history" made him a 2010 campaign celebrity.
Kozell, a candidate in the Republican primary in the 18th Congressional District, lacks Quayle's connections or family name; in the spot, he downplays what connections he does have (legal work for the Senate Judiciary Committee and relationships with some Republican senators) and portrays himself as a small businessman by touring a factory. (Kozell started a dock-maintenance business in college.)
Accusations that Clinton has committed crimes, and gotten away with them, have colored Republican campaigns for decades. They've picked up since the FBI announced that it would take no further steps to investigate her "careless" use of a private email server after a year-long probe; they've gained more steam after reports that three (of 56) FBI field offices wanted to probe the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation over a foreign donation but were waved off by a DOJ that had come up empty in a similar probe.