In his bid to pull off an upset in the U.S. Senate race, Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley began airing his first -- and likely only -- TV ad of the campaign Thursday.
Swamped by the advertising budgets deployed by Republican Norm Coleman and DFLer Al Franken, Barkley said he hopes the ad conveys "a nice, straightforward message to Minnesotans: I'm one of you."
He said he hopes it provides a counterpoint to the harshly negative Senate campaign ads that have flooded the airwaves.
Barkley employed Minneapolis adman Bill Hillsman in the hopes of recapturing Hillsman's success in commercials he crafted for former Gov. Jesse Ventura and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone.
The ad, titled "Middle Class," shows a leather jacket-clad Barkley standing in the Scott County countryside, flanked by cardboard cutouts of Coleman and Franken atop pedestals. "I don't need two guys from New York to tell me why the middle class is angry," Barkley says. "I know why. I'm one of you."
He knocks over the pedestals and walks off into the distance.
Hillsman said the ad will be broadcast statewide, primarily on cable stations, but declined to provide specifics of where and when it will be aired.
Barkley said his campaign has raised more than $160,000, a tiny fraction of the sums raised by Franken and Coleman.
BOB VON STERNBERG