Republican Candidate Uses Still of Islamic State Killer in Campaign Video

Video prepared for Republican challenger for U.S. senator from New Mexico includes still of man who beheaded journalist James Foley.

Islamic State militant
An Islamic State militant waving the group's flag in Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014. Reuters

A video prepared for a Republican candidate for U.S. senator from New Mexico has prompted criticism for its use of a still image of the Islamic State member who killed the freelance journalist James Foley.

Allen Weh, a former marine and now chief executive of the Albuquerque air-support and -logistics firm CSI Aviation Inc., is challenging the incumbent Democrat, Senator Tom Udall.

The video includes images of President Barack Obama on vacation interspersed with images of various incidents of violence overseas. It includes audio and video of Udall saying, "…this diplomatic path that we're on is a good one."

And halfway through the one-minute video, which Weh's campaign calls "Restore Leadership," is a momentary still of the ISIS member who beheaded the journalist.

"James Foley's death is a tragedy, and to use his killer’s horrific image for personal gain in a campaign ad is reprehensible and appalling," Udall's campaign manager, Daniel Sena, wrote in a statement quoted widely.

"If Allen Weh wants to talk about the issues with New Mexico voters, he should find a way to do it that is respectful and substantive. Using James Foley’s horrific and tragic death for shock value is offensive to Mr. Foley's family, New Mexico voters and the rest of our country."

Kelly Foley, a relative of the reporter, has tweeted, “Please honor James Foley and respect my family’s privacy. Don’t watch the video. Don’t share it. That’s not how life should be.”

A spokeswoman for Weh's campaign told the Huffington Post that the use of the still image didn't go against the family's wishes because it showed only the killer, not Foley himself.

The video ends with the on-screen wording "To change Washington you must change your senator."