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With small purchases, two Ellison challengers go on the air with television ads

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 5th District, Political ads, Democrats, Republicans Updated: August 7, 2012 - 2:48 PM

With about $4,000 spent between them, two of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's challengers are taking to the television airwaves to go after him.

According to newly accessible political ad files, Republican Chris Fields spent $400 to go after Ellison on the racial employment and school achievement gap; Democrat Gary Boisclair, who is running in a primary, has spent about $3,700 to air anti-abortion and anti-Muslim messages.

Fields ad, only on the docket for one airing, is targeted to Sunday watchers of KSTP's "At Issue" public affairs show. According to online files, Boisclair has paid just over $1,000 to each KSTP and KMSP, where the ads are targeted around morning news shows, to air his spots. (Tuesday afternoon, KARE reported that Boisclair spent $1,200 with them to run his ad. This post has been updated to reflect that.)

Boisclair describes his ads as showing: "graphic images of babies murdered by abortion, and of Christians tortured and murdered by Muslims in Islamic countries." 

Boisclair, who running against Ellison in next week's primary, said in a news release that he will "take questions regarding complaints, accusations, and anger over his campaign ads" in Minneapolis  Wednesday morning. Boisclair, who did not live in Minnesota when he first announced his campaign, is aligned with anti-abortion zealot Randall Terry, who has helped other campaigns with ads featuring graphic images of fetuses. Courts have found stations must air similar ads from political candidates.

Fields' ad is less likely to generate "complaints, accusations and anger" but still takes Ellison to task for the difference between white and black education and employment in Minneapolis. The ad also says that Ellison, who has 30,000 Twitter followers and had tweeted 3,632 times as of Tuesday morning, "represents Minneapolis on Twitter."

While neither ad will get very wide viewing, they do show challengers with more of an ad war plan than there has before in Ellison's heavily Democratic Fifth District. Ellison, the first Muslim-American elected to congress, won the 2010 general election with 68 percent of the vote and his 2010 primary with 82 percent of the vote.

Ellison has a cash advantage over his competitors with $126,481 in campaign cash banked and $1.4 million spent as of July but has yet to announce any television ad plans.

Fields reported $51,610 in the bank in July and $62,770 raised; Boisclair has yet to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. Candidates are required to file with the FEC once they've raised or spent more than $5,000.

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