(CNN) — The masked man appears briefly, for only a frame or two, but it’s startling nonetheless.
The not-yet-identified killer of kidnapped American photographer James Foley is featured in an ominous and risky campaign ad released Monday by New Mexico’s Republican nominee for Senate, Allen Weh, the underdog challenger to first-term Democratic Senator Tom Udall.
Weh, a Marine combat veteran and onetime New Mexico Republican Party Chairman, appears to be the first candidate this cycle to use Foley’s gruesome execution as campaign fodder, portraying the murder as one consequence of a rudderless American foreign policy mismanaged by President Obama and Udall.
Foley himself is cropped out of the web video, leaving only the stark image of the black-clad jihadist, clutching a blade in the Syrian desert.
That picture is on screen for barely two seconds second and then fades quickly into a cascade of dark Middle East scenery — including ISIS militants in Iraq and the bombing of mosques — all of it intercut with video of Obama playing golf and vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard.
“To change Washington, you must change your Senator,” reads a banner at the conclusion of the ad, titled “Restore Leadership.”
Udall leads Weh by double digits in recent polling and is considered safe in his re-election bid with just over two months until Election Day.
Despite its former swing state status and a Republican governor in office, New Mexico has drifted Democratic in federal elections over the last decade, thanks in part to its growing Hispanic population.