Flurry of Attack Ads Points to Importance of Minnesota in Midterm Elections

Minnesotans may soon resort to turning off their televisions lest they suffer through the swarm of political attack ads invading their homes.

The high numbers of ads, and the even higher amount of money being spent on them, highlights Minnesota’s importance in the 2018 midterms.

“There’s no way around it: The path to the majority goes through Minnesota,” Minnesota Action Network Executive Director Gina Countryman told The Star Tribune.

Candidates and their allies in Minnesota’s Third and Eighth Congressional Districts have tossed “Minnesota-nice” in the trash bin, instead digging up any political dirt they can find on their opponents.

The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) recently targeted Democrat Joe Radinovich for his previous run-ins with the law.

“Joe Radinovich wants to go to Washington to make laws, but he’s spent his life running from the law,” the ad claims. “Charged with 18 crimes, 30 traffic violations—5 times Joe Radinovich had his driver’s license suspended—cops even charged Radinovich with possession of drug paraphernalia.”

“Fast times. Broken laws. Joe Radinovich isn’t fit to serve in Congress,” the ad concludes.

Both the CLF and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) are going after Dean Phillips, Democratic candidate for Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, who is putting up a tough competition against incumbent Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03).

In its new ad, the NRCC claims that Phillips “failed to pay his property taxes on time,” and has “millions stashed away in off-shore accounts.”

The CLF is attacking Phillips for claiming that health care is a “moral right,” while allegedly refusing to provide health benefits to his own employees.

Phillips later responded to the ads, characterizing them as “right from the Donald Trump playbook.”

“Every organization I’ve led, including my campaign, offers health care to full-time employees and I’ve always paid my taxes,” he said.

Democratic candidate Angie Craig is spending big money on ads against Republican Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN-02), with The Star Tribune reporting that her contract with WCCO cost up to $30,000 for just one week of advertising on one network. One ad that aired during the NFL’s opening weekend cost $12,500, with another ad running during the finale of “Big Brother” totaling $3,000.

Minnesota’s gubernatorial candidates, however, have been comparatively quiet due to spending caps and exhausted funds. A comprehensive list of political ads airing across Minnesota can be viewed here.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]






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