In the spot, which ran over the weekend on a Fox affiliate in central Florida, Fanelli stands between a middle-aged white man and a younger, swarthy fellow. "Does this look like a terrorist?" he asks, gesturing towards the white man. Then, pointing to the darker dude, he adds: "Or this?"
"It's time to stop this political correctness in the invasion of our privacy," Fanelli says, an apparent call for racial profiling in the searching of those deemed to be potential terrorists.
In an interview, I asked Fanelli if the message of the spot was that darker people are more likely to be terrorists.
He said it wasn't, claiming that the ad's point was that people from countries like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Syria "require a higher level of security."
"You can be light and from those countries," he said, adding that the actor who played the terrorist in the commercial agreed with him.
Fanelli, who said he had piloted a flight bound for Washington on Sept. 11, when the city was attacked, added that Middle Easterners should want profiling for their own safety.
"If the people that were doing this kind of thing looked like me, even though I'm not the guy doing the terrorist thing I would want to be examined more closely," he said, vowing that he harbored no animosity towards Islam and that in Congress he would represent all religions.
Fanelli is one of a half-dozen Republicans running to take on Grayson. So it's unclear if he'll ever ascend to Congress. But this ad deserves to be entered as an exhibit in the larger argument over the Arizona law, terrorism, and racial profiling.