"Concerned about her whereabouts" Arizona Republican Party puts out wanted poster from Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. Democrats, including former Rep. Gabby Giffords, call the wanted poster with bullet holes offensive.

A "Wanted" poster of Senate candidate Ann Kirkpatrick sent out by Arizona Republican Party has angered a number of Arizona Democrats.

It isn't the fiery rhetoric that has angered them, but the computer generated bullet holes that has Democrats, including former Rep. Gabby Giffords, demanding an apology.

Giffords was one of 13 people wounded in an assassination attempt in 2011 that left six people dead. 

The Kirkpatrick Senate campaign denounced the Western style "Wanted" poster - which the state party delivered to Kirkpatrick's campaign office in Tempe - calling it "tasteless and ignorant."

“The Arizona Republican Party’s actions show the desperate and disgusting campaign John McCain and his allies have chosen to run,” said Kirkpatrick for Senate Campaign Manager Max Croes. “There is absolutely no place for this disturbing imagery in Arizona politics.

Arizona Democratic Party Chair Alexis Tameron called it a desperate attempt to protect Republican Senator John McCain, who is running for another term.

“I'm dumbstruck by the inexcusable lack of judgment," said Tameron. “Today's political stunt by the Arizona Republican Party illustrates not only a lack of judgment, but a complete disregard of the tragedy that traumatized so many Arizonans on January 8, 2011."

A joint statement from Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, asked the state party to apologize.

“In a state and country that know the toll of gun violence too well, there is no room for invoking the use of firearms in our politics," they said in prepared statement. "We urge Arizonans of every political stripe to join us in asking the Arizona Republican Party to refrain from using this irresponsible imagery and to apologize."

Matthew Specht with the Arizona Republican Party said the complaints are just thinly-veiled attempts to avoid discussing Kirkpatrick's unwillingness to talk to voters.

"No one who received the press release containing the 'wanted' poster linked it to violence until the Kirkpatrick campaign tried to use it as a way to distract the media from Ann Kirkpatrick's absence from the campaign trail."

In a post on the Arizona Republican Party website, Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham noted Kirkpatrick isn't holding public events and isn't in her campaign office.

“Afraid that Arizonans won’t ‘want’ her in the U.S. Senate if they learn more about her record and positions, Ann Kirkpatrick has been hiding out,” said Graham. "Please approach with caution, as Kirkpatrick has been known to flee voters when asked tough questions."

Kirkpatrick has been in southern Arizona as recently as last Saturday, touring La Estrella Bakery and chatting with locals in Oro Valley. 

Graham's statement ended on the same Old West theme. 

"Kirkpatrick’s known associates include President Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson