Allison Sherry and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s first broadcast ad, said to be in the six figures, blossomed into what some are dubbing “groin gate” in social media circles Monday.
The ad features McFadden coaching young boys football. One of the boys says, “Now Coach McFadden is the one running.” Another says, “Spending has to be stopped” and “Obamacare needs to be sacked.”
Then, McFadden shouts to the junior huddle, “Let’s go out and hit somebody!” and a little boy apparently goes for McFadden in a tackle and hits him below the waist. McFadden’s voice screeches up about six notches and he concludes the ad with “I’m Mike McFadden and I approve this message” all in the high-pitched voice.
The ad sparked chatter on Twitter Monday that it employed a hit to the groin in the first major ad buy of the campaign. (Notably: McFadden shares a media consultant with Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst, who won attention for featuring pig castration in an ad.)
The McFadden campaign spokesman Tom Erickson, however, denied the below-the-belt hit:
Erickson explained on Twitter that McFadden's high pitch post-hit, which led some to believe the hit was to the groin, happened because the wind was knocked out of him.
The candidate himself said he suffered for the ad:
.@RachelSB Thanks for your concern about my well-being. I do all my own stunts!— Mike McFadden (@MikeForMN) July 7, 2014
The football kids in the ad are real children from the Mendota Heights Youth Athletic Association, Erickson said.
McFadden hopes to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Franken has spent more than $1.4 million on television so far in four ads. McFadden has had two other smaller ads, but this is his debut on broadcast television and the “Coach” ad is running in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, Fargo-Moorhead and Mankato.
The ad will run on four stations, campaign officials said, though early Federal Communications Commission filings show about $40,000 worth of spending on KMSP and KSTP.
Here's the ad: