Democrat Dean Phillips recently called on Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) to agree to more public appearances in the race for Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, even comparing the incumbent congressman to Bigfoot.
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In an open letter to Paulsen, Phillips challenged his opponent to agree to meet for three debates and an additional three public forums before the November election.
“In addition to those three forums, I intend to participate in the closed media debates hosted by Minnesota Public Radio, KSTP-TV, and TPT Almanac. Taken together, these should provide voters with ample opportunity to hear from us both and decide for whom to vote,” Phillips wrote.
The Democrat went on to rebuke Paulsen for ignoring several prior requests from the Phillips campaign, which included a series of town hall meetings and a pledge to refuse any PAC money or funding from outside groups during the campaign.
“I hope you will agree that it’s important for voters to have the opportunity to see us in person, and that you will not limit those opportunities to restricted forums with either limited voter participation or held outside of the district—or both,” Phillips concluded.
In an ad released Tuesday, the Phillips campaign compared Paulsen to Bigfoot, since the Republican congressman has established a reputation among Democrats for making few public appearances.
“Congressman Paulsen did not hold a public town hall meeting for more than seven years. He’s rarely caught on camera in Minnesota, and he’s almost never seen in public—and when he is it’s not for too long. He’s so good at hiding that even Bigfoot is impressed,” a press release accompanying the ad stated.
The press release goes on to tout Phillips’ record of making more than 120 public appearances since entering the race.
“The only way to guarantee an Erik Paulsen sighting is to contribute $2,700 to join his ‘Eagles Club’ or write a $10,000 PAC check to help fund his negative TV ads,” the Phillips campaign said.
During the primaries, however, Phillips refused to debate his Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party opponent, according to the Paulsen campaign, which challenged Phillips to three town-hall debates in August.
“An even number of questions will come from Paulsen and Phillips supporters in the audience to make sure each candidate answers tough questions from voters,” Paulsen elaborated.
The Paulsen campaign has yet to respond to Phillips’ latest request, but his campaign is attacking Phillips’ history in the private sector in a new series of campaign ads.
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