“I feel they're quite malicious and attack my character and reputation and have absolutely no truth,” Petit said about the ad at a press conference Wednesday morning. "I’m appalled that anyone would stoop this low.”
The ad was placed by the Labor United for Connecticut, a political action committee. The PAC received funds from various organizations, including state labor unions.
Petit is running for the State House of Representatives as a Republican candidate. Democratic Rep. Betty Boukus, 73, has served the 22nd District covering New Britain and Plainville since 1994.
The Labor United for Connecticut said in an email:
While we sincerely regret if anyone has found it to be personally offensive, the Facebook post in question holds numerous Connecticut Republicans accountable for their support of Donald Trump and his policies, which independent experts have found to be harmful to women and middle class families. The post also links to a website where these dangerous policies are detailed for voters. We stand by these accountability efforts and call on Republican candidates to disown Donald Trump and his damaging policies. That said, the post in this particular district was set to expire today, and it will not be renewed.
The group later said, "We can only imagine the pain that Petit has gone through, and would never target his loss for our political agenda. It is not intended to reference any personal history."
Boukus said she had nothing to do with the ad. She attended Petit's press conference and afterward, in a show of solidarity, gave him a hug, denouncing the ad to the media, who was also there.
"We don't do this in Plainville," said Boukus.
“I am horrified by the tasteless and offensive attack ad against my opponent," Boukus said in a statement issued by the Connecticut House Democrats. "It was produced by a third party with no connection to my campaign, without my knowledge, and without the involvement of anyone associated with my campaign. I am asking those responsible to pull the ad and issue an apology to Dr. Petit and his family.”
The state Democratic Party said it had nothing to do with the ad, and would not support this type of advertising directed against Petit.
Petit said Trump's comments toward women were terrible, but when asked if he supported the Republican presidential nominee, he did not give a clear answer. When pressed for an answer he replied, "I'm going to make a decision when I get into the (voting) booth."
Christine Petit, William's wife, posted the ad on her Facebook page and expressed outrage at whomever made it.
Lori J. Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, made the following statement in response to the ads:
The ads by the political action group ‘Labor United for Connecticut’ targeting Dr. William Petit are stunning and extremely distasteful.
The Connecticut AFL-CIO has not contributed any money to the PAC that put together these terrible ads and we have not coordinated with them in any way.
In this race, considering what Dr. Petit has gone through, I do not think this was an appropriate avenue to go down. This attack is insensitive and should be pulled immediately.
While we have not endorsed any candidates in this particular state house race, we felt so strongly that the ad was repugnant that it required a response.
Petit was the only survivor in his family after a home invasion in Cheshire in 2007 in which his wife and two daughters were killed. He has become an outspoken activist in favor of the death penalty in the state since. He also heads the Petit Family Foundation, which honors the memory of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Haley Petit and Michaela Petit by “continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives” through donations to education, victims of violence and those suffering from illnesses.