A day after her Democratic challenger Jim Graves began running television ads, Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann hit back.
"We can't afford 'Big Spending Jim' in Congress," says the new Bachmann ad. According to publicly available records, Bachmann is putting at least $260,000 behind her first ad campaign of the season. Her initial purchase will put her on the air through Oct. 2.
Bachmann only appears in the ad at the very end to approve the message.
Unlike the race for the northern Eighth Congressional District, no outside groups have yet spent money to air television ads targeting Bachmann's district. But she still may be vulnerable. For months, she told supporters she is worried about the attacks that will come and Democratic polls have found Graves within reach of beating her.
On Wednesday, Graves began running two ads -- one was a biographical piece and the other featured workers from a recently shuttered paper mill in Bachmann's district, accusing Bachmann of ignoring their needs.
Bachmann ad's seeks to undercut Graves, who portrayed himself as a self-starter who struggled at first before being blessed in the hotel business.
"Hotel executive Jim Graves wants to take a trip to Washington. But Graves time in Congress would be an expensive stay for Minnesota taxpayers," the ad says. It links Graves to the federal stimulus package, the Wall Street bailout and the federal health care overhaul. While Graves has expressed some support for those policies, the ad does not make clear he was not a member of congress when they passed.
Adam Graves, Jim Graves' campaign manager, said the ad fails to reflect that Graves does not support the federal measures Bachmann cited in their entirety. Of the health care law, for instance, he said it, "addresses the issue of access, but fails to address the underlying costs of health care.... Jim believes we need to move to an outcomes-based compensation model" and "greater transparency into the health care industry."
This post has been updated to reflect new spending apparent in public files and Graves' campaign manager's comments.