Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman 'Zaching'

Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman 'Zaching' (Baltimore Sun / June 26, 2014)

Republican Larry Hogan’s campaign for governor quietly removed from an online ad a controversial photo of his gubernatorial opponent Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown “Zaching” for the camera.

Hogan’s campaign acknowledged Saturday that it had removed a photo of Brown, a Democrat, and his running mate Howard County Executive Ken Ulman flexing their biceps in a picture that was intended to show solidarity with a young Howard County man, Zach Lederer, who recently lost his yearslong battle to cancer.

The double-gun flex became known in some circles as “Zaching” after an image of Lederer striking the pose from his hospital went viral. His family also has created a foundation intended to inspire cancer victims.

The GOP nominee released the online ad after Tuesday’s primary, calling Brown “the Most Incompetent Man in Maryland.” It mimics the successful Dos Equis beer commercials featuring the “Most Interesting Man in the World.”

It takes aim at Brown for supporting tax increases, the botched rollout of state’s online health insurance exchange and Maryland's unemployment rate.

“The lieutenant governor didn’t dispute any facts in the ad, that he raised taxes 40 times, wasted more than $125 million on the single biggest job entrusted to him, nearly doubled unemployment and has demonstrated no managerial competence — he only took issue with a picture in it, so we changed it for him,” Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky told The Baltimore Sun.

Democrats had called the use of the photo “despicable.”

“It’s very upsetting that Larry Hogan would stoop to using an image of Anthony and Ken supporting Zach in his battle against cancer for a political attack,” state Democratic Party chair Yvette Lewis said in a recent statement.

“Zach used this pose as a symbol of hope for not only himself, but also for cancer patients across the world. I can’t understand how Mr. Hogan could actually think that it’s appropriate to exploit Zach’s message of hope for his own political gain.”

Check out the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-bQYOaSOvk