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Louisiana Senate Candidate Gary Chambers Burns Confederate Flag in Latest Provocative Ad

In his uphill campaign to unseat Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, senate candidate Gary Chambers Jr. released a new provocative ad on Wednesday. 

The one minute video titled “Scars and Bars” starts with Chambers holding an American flag. It then cuts to him pinning a Confederate flag to a clothesline, dousing it with gasoline and lighting it on fire, all while he monologs about how Jim Crow never truly left the south.  

“Here in Louisiana and all over the South, Jim Crow never really left,” Chambers says, before referencing statistics relating to the inequities Black Americans face in his state and across the country. “Our system isn’t broken — it’s designed to do what it’s doing: produce measurable inequity. One in 13 Black Americans are deprived of the right to vote. One in nine Black Americans do not have health insurance. One in three Black children live in poverty.”

Chambers’ opening campaign video, released last month, was also an eye-catching one. In the video he smokes a blunt while advocating for the legalization of marijuana. That video went viral, racking up more than 6 million views on Twitter and landing him a wave of press.

As a community activist in the Baton Rouge area for the last ten years, Chambers has been influential in bringing police reform to the city, getting an emergency room built in North Baton Rouge after the city shut down two hospitals, and keeping a zoo open in his community. 

“I’m from North Baton Rouge, born and raised. It’s the majority Black side of town. I grew up middle class Black, and as I got older I started watching my community be divested in,” Chambers told Rolling Stone last month, describing his turn to social activism and politics.

Chambers says he understands his style doesn’t appeal to everyone, but he believes it gets results, and he hopes it translates from local activism to the U.S. Senate race. 

As one of three announced Democrats challenging Kennedy, Chambers is facing an uphill battle to unseat the incumbent Republican senator in next fall’s election. 

But Chambers doesn’t want anyone to count Democratic candidates out just yet, pointing to Democratic victories in Georgia’s Senate races earlier this year as a reason.

“This is a winnable race,” he said. “The demographic of Louisiana is similar to Georgia. … Five years ago, nobody would’ve thought that Raphael Warnock would be the senator from Georgia. I think that that’s possible in Louisiana if we do the work.”

The election is set for Nov. 8, 2022 with official qualifying July 20-22, 2022.

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