Congressional candidate Tom Emmer's newest campaign commercial raised eyebrows this weekend.
Candidate commercials are nothing new, but this may be the first time a congressional candidate has blended a pitch for his campaign alongside a pitch for new siding.
"Hi, I'm Tom Emmer and I'm running for Congress in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District," says Emmer at the start of the 31-second commercial. "If you're looking for someone to do remodeling, siding or general construction -- residential or commercial -- I can tell you without qualification, you need to call the folks at Integrity Exteriors and Remodelers. They're the best."
The Emmer campaign rushed to explain that the candidate wasn't cutting a commercial -- just offering a testimonial to the company that helped build his campaign office.
"Integrity Exteriors and Remodelers did a wonderful job on the build out of the Emmer for Congress Campaign Office that we are now leasing in Otsego," Emmer spokesman David FitzSimmons said in a statement. "They asked Tom for a testimonial of the work they did and he was more than happy to support a local business out of Elk River. It was not Tom's intention for this testimonial to be used in a broadcast capacity or advertisement for the campaign and we have asked Integrity to discontinue its use."
Integrity Exteriors and Remodelers has not yet returned a call for comment.
The campaign has not yet responded to questions about whether Emmer was paid for his testimonial. Federal campaign law bans candidates from accepting campaign donations from corporations.
The sight of a candidate making a corporate plug is something of a political novelty.
"I've never seen anything like it, and I have literally watched thousands and thousands of ads," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics."I've never seen a combination of political ad and product promo."
The video was originally spotted by blogger Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie.