Herschel Walker featured a female swimmer who competed against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in an ad in the Georgia runoff election just two days after a shooting at a Colorado gay bar killed five people.
Mr Walker, the Republican nominee for Senate, is running against Senator Raphael Warnock in a runoff election on 6 December after neither candidate received a majority of the vote.
The former NFL star’s new ad features Riley Gaines, a former swimmer for the University of Kentucky who swam against Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms Gaines has since appeared onstage with former president Donald Trump to oppose allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports. Mr Walker is a former running back for the University of Georgia and a Heisman Trophy winner.
“For more than a decade, I worked so hard–4:00 am practices to be the best,” she says in the ad. “But my senior year, I was forced to compete against a biological male.”
Mr Walker called the practice “unfair and wrong.”
“A man won the swimming title that belonged to a woman,” she said and accused Mr Warnock of allowing it to happen.
Republicans have moved in earnest to characterise transgender women competing in sports as “biological males.” Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee mentioned it during Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
Similarly, Republican governors across the country have signed legislation banning transgender women from women’s sports.
The advertisement comes the Monday after Anderson Lee Aldrich allegedly opened fire and killed five people at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs just before midnight on Sunday. At least one clubgoer tackled the gunman and detained him until law enforcement arrived on the scene.
Police charged Mr Aldrich with a hate crime and five counts of first-degree murder.