Anti-HERO groups launch ad designed to disturb

- It is a political ad designed to deeply frighten parents.

A defenseless girl and a predator, purportedly granted legal access to the ladies room. As the child enters a stall, the man leaps out of hiding and slams the door, trapping the girl.

"Vote no on Proposition 1, the bathroom ordinance. It goes too far" reads a narrator.

Jared Woodfill of Campaign For Houston says the ad accurately portrays the disturbing potential of a Houston Equal Rights Ordinance driven by political correctness.

"The scary truth is it does happen. The scary truth is this ordinance allows it to happen," said Woodfill.

But HERO supporters called the ad fiction meant purely to frighten.

"The ad implies that the Houston Equal Rights ordinance somehow makes sexual predators a protected class and of course, that's absolutely untrue," said Cheryl Newcomb of the pro-HERO group Houston Unites, who contends there has been no report in cities with HERO like ordinances of attacks similar to the one portrayed in the ad.

Political analysts say the sheer force and emotion of the spot could prove a potential game changer.

"People need to be confronted with it. People need to be afraid of it and this ad does exactly that. This is also something that is compelling enough that even people who know this is a low probability are still scared of the possibility that it would happen," said Brandon Rottinghaus, political analyst with the University of Houston.

"An ad that is so powerful and visceral like this could tilt the election into the 'no' side unless the 'yes' forces can come up with equally powerful messaging," said Mark Jones, political analyst with Rice University.

It's a struggle with fear, pro-HERO forces plan to meet head on. Newcomb is mother to a daughter not much older than the child in the ad.

"I will just speak to her from my heart and with truth, that this doesn't have anything to do with the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance," said Newcomb.
 

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