U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) released a new ad on Wednesday, in which his children praise their father’s extreme miserliness as a reason to make him Georgia’s next U.S. senator.
“Our dad is Jack Kingston. He really is cheap, and it’s not just the car he drives,” one daughter says.
“He’ll drive five miles on empty, just to save two cents a gallon,” adds one of his sons.
“We thought ‘Hand-Me-Down’ was the name of a department store,” says another.
After a few more anecdotes about their father’s household austerity plan, Kingston’s son John gets to the crux of the argument.
“For dad, it’s about personal responsibility and respecting the value of a dollar,” he says.
“It will be the same way in the Senate,” his daughter Ann adds.
The ad is reminiscent of the biographical video about Mitt Romney from the 2012 Republican National Convention, which highlighted his frugality (and was immediately overshadowed by Clint Eastwood’s infamous empty-chair meltdown).
Kingston’s effort to paint himself as a fiscal hawk — even at home — has a bit more urgency than Romney’s did. The 11-term congressman is locked in a tight five-way Senate primary, in which all the candidates are struggling to present themselves as the most conservative. To that end, Kingston voted against Paul Ryan’s latest budget plan, arguing that its $5 trillion in cuts are insufficient. He has also suggested that children on food aid should be forced to sweep the cafeteria floor to earn their lunches and learn the value of a dollar (while declining to mention that he receives scores of free meals ever year, courtesy of the taxpayers).
According to The Huffington Post’s polling average, Kingston currently sits in second place in Georgia’s Senate race. If no candidate earns over 50 percent in the May 20 primary — which seems almost certain — then the top two candidates will advance to a July 22 runoff.