With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

Posts about Political ads

And, in closing: Here are the final TV ads in key election races

Posted by: Updated: November 3, 2014 - 1:01 PM

Candidates for governor, Senate and Congress have spent millions to get dozens of messages on television.

But, with Election Day nearly here, these are the words they really want you to remember.

Here are their final, closing argument television ads.


Republican Jeff Johnson

Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner raised in Detroit Lakes, tailored his final ads to three different parts of the state. In all three ads, Johnson is standing in a sun-dappled, tree stand.

"He's just not up to the job any more," Johnson says of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. "It's time for new leadership in Minnesota."

In two other ads, he claims that he, unlike Dayton, will focus on Greater Minnesota.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton's final ad is called "Rising" and highlights the way his campaign believes the state is better since Dayton took office and will be even better if he wins again.

"Mark Dayton knows we have much more to do, to help struggling families, make college more affordable, and help small businesses grow," the narrator says. "Moving forward together."

U.S. Senate

Republican Mike McFadden

McFadden's final ad shows a contrast -- the country as it is, with the country as it could be.

"Everything is at stake," a narrator reads, as various scenes of Minnesota life flit by. "Our hopes, our dreams, our future....We can make America great again."

Democratic U.S. Al Franken

Franken's final ad, called "Delivered," uses quotations from newspaper editorial endorsements to promote the candidate.

"Newspapers across Minnesota back Al Franken," the ad's narrator says. Video of Franken meeting with various people shows as different voices read selections from the pro-Franken endorsements.

Eighth Congressional District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan

Nolan, fighting to keep his northern Minnesota district, closed his campaign with an ad that shows him speaking to a crowd and going hunting. Against that backdrop, Nolan gives his enthusiastic stump speech.

"It's time to do what's right for the middle class," Nolan says in the ad.

Republican Stewart Mills

In Mills final ad, he speaks directly to the camera and makes the ask for viewers' votes.

"Minnesota is my home," he says in the ad, which includes childhood photos of Mills. "I'm Stewart Mills. I approved this message and I'd appreciate your vote."

McFadden's camp to file zero-hour FEC complaint against Franken

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: November 2, 2014 - 4:38 PM

GOP Senate challenger Mike McFadden's campaign said Sunday they were planning to file a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission Monday alleging Democratic Sen. Al Franken's campaign is illegally coordinating with a Super PAC.

At issue are two ads released roughly the same time that are similar in composition and message. One was launched and paid for by Franken's campaign, the other launched and paid for by Independence USA PAC, an outside group bankrolled by former New York City Mayor and billlionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, according to FEC reports, has invested $500,000 in television ads to support Franken.

It is against federal law for campaigns to coordinate with outside political groups.

"The similarities in these two ads go beyond coincidence," said McFadden's spokesman Tom Erickson. "On Monday we’ll be filing a complaint with FEC alleging coordination between the Franken campaign and this super PAC."

Franken's campaign called the alleged complaint "desperate."

"This is a silly complaint by a desperate campaign trying to change the dynamic of a race," said Marc Elias, the campaign's lawyer.

McFadden's campaign is among two dozen campaigns already being investigated for illegal coordination after a complaint was filed in October by the American Democracy Legal Fund. The complaint alleges McFadden's camp, along with dozens of others, were illegally working with Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, Crossroads GPS and a number of other Republican outside groups.


McFadden campaign launches final TV ad blitz

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: November 2, 2014 - 11:34 AM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden's campaign will launch its final advertisement during prime time Sunday night.

The 30-second advertisement, entitled "It's Time," opens with gravity: "Everything is at stake," a narrator reads. "Our hopes, our dreams, our future."

McFadden campaign spokesman Tom Erickson said the broadcast will air at around 6:30 p.m. on CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX and is the final television advertisement of the campaign. It will run just before McFadden squares off with Sen. Al Franken in their last of three debates at 7 p.m. on Minnesota Public Radio, two days before the election.

View the ad here:

Another round of GOP mailers draws ire from DFL, this time over drunken driving

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: October 29, 2014 - 4:59 PM

Another series of mailers targeting DFL House members up for re-election has again drawn the ire of the party after saying Democrats are responsible for “putting convicted drunk drivers back on the roads” for passing legislation requiring people with multiple DWI convictions to use an ignition-interlock device. The mailers also triggered a response from the national president for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and, locally, Minnesotans for Safe Driving.

The mailers, which again target at least half-dozen DFL House members, give various accusations that they voted to make it easier for convicted drunken drivers to get back behind the wheel. One calls St. Cloud Rep. Zach Dorholt a "bar owner" who “weakened penalties for horrific drunk driving crashes,” while another says Eagan Rep. Sandra Masin “Weakened penalties for dangerous drunk drivers. Putting our families in harm’s way?” imposed over a background of a shattered windshield. The mailers are each marked as paid for by the Republican Party of Minnesota.

DFL House caucus spokesman Michael Howard said the mail pieces refer to HF 2255, legislation that requires people with multiple drunken-driving convictions to use an ignition-interlock device, which requires a breath test by the driver before the vehicle can be started. The bill passed 71-57 in the House and unanimously in the Minnesota Senate.

“These last-minute attacks are designed to leave candidates with no time to respond and set the record straight, and they are shameful,” House Speaker Paul Thissen said in a statement.

The mailers are the second in a row that drew ire from the DFL, after others accused lawmakers of  making it easier for felons to work in schools. The mailer was in reference to a bill reforming the state’s expungement laws. The DFL alerted representatives of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, who in a letter called the mailers “misleading.”

The Republican Party of Minnesota did not respond to a request for comment.

The mailers also triggered a response from MADD National President Jan Withers, who said the organization backed the legislation because she said requiring an interlock device is more effective than license revocation alone.

“MADD supported these measures because simply hoping that convicted DWI offenders will not drive on a revoked license is bad public policy,” Withers wrote in the letter to Thissen. “License revocation without an interlock requirement is like using cancer treatments that were best practices 25 years ago. If this ‘treatment’ were effective, there would not be over 63,000 Minnesota residents with three or more DWI convictions on their driving records.”

The letter does not appear to address the mailers, but instead thanks lawmakers “for working to reform the state’s drunken-driving law.”

Nancy Johnson, legislative liaison for Minnesotans for Safe Driving and a victim of drunken driving, expressed similar support for the law in a letter to Thissen, while condemning the mailers.

"The idea that the Legislature was being soft on drunk drivers when they passed a bill in 2014 which allowed those arrested and/or convicted of (criminal vehicular operation) to have Ignition Interlock available to them is ridiculous." Johnson wrote.

Read the MADD letter below:

MADD Letter 10-29-14

McFadden colleagues lambast latest ad accusing him of causing layoffs

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: October 27, 2014 - 4:15 PM

A throng of business owners stood in support of U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden Monday to counterattack an advertisement by his Democratic opponent Sen. Al Franken that alleges McFadden’s company was involved in a job-killing business deal.

While McFadden traveled the state, his colleagues took to his defense, including Paul Grangaard, CEO of Allen Edmonds Shoe Company and Robin Engelson, former Managing Director at Lazard Middle Market who is now managing partner of Sapphire Financial. Engelson called the ad "intentional manipulation to stir up emotion."

“I want to make a few things perfectly clear. One: Mike McFadden has never shipped a single job overseas. Two: He has never inverted a company to help avoid paying U.S. taxes,” Engelson said. “Three: his company, Lazard Middle Market, is based in the United States and pays United States taxes. And Four: Mike McFadden has never closed a single plant or laid off a single worker.”

McFadden and his campaign have repeatedly disputed Franken’s latest ad, which features workers laid off after the 2009 shuttering of a Montana mill following the restructuring of Smurfit Stone Container Corp. The ad links the closing to McFadden’s company, Lazard Middle Market. McFadden has taken a leave of absence from his role as CEO of the company during his U.S. Senate bid. He also launched a counterattack Monday in his own ad that said the attacks were evidence that "typical politicians don’t have a clue about jobs."

McFadden maintains that not only was his Lazard Middle Market not involved in the transaction, but that both his firm and its parent company have no control over operational decisions. A campaign spokesman said McFadden ran Lazard Middle Market, while the company responsible for the Smurfit layoffs was Lazard Middle Market's parent company, Lazard Frères. The issue was also raised during Sunday’s heated debate.

The Franken campaign pointed out that the Smurfit Stone deal was mentioned on Lazard Middle Market’s website until the advertisement’s debut, and then was scrubbed. McFadden’s campaign has maintained they don’t know why the business deal was mentioned there, or why it was removed. The deal is still mentioned on the parent company's website.

“Investment Banker Mike McFadden is trying to distract from the fact that his company worked on a deal that resulted in more than 400 workers losing their jobs. We know this because his company, Lazard Middle Market, took credit for it on its website while Mike McFadden was still CEO.” Franken spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff said in a statement. “The fact that his company tried to scrub the deal from its website after the ad started airing on TV just shows that Mike McFadden is trying to hide his profits-over-people mentality from Minnesotans,”

Engleson said the company’s mention may have been on Lazard Middle Market’s website to show it as an area of expertise, “but again, that expertise is with the restructuring of debt, not with restructuring operations.”

No Lazard Middle Market representatives were present at Monday’s news conference. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on the record.

“The company itself is going to have to speak for itself,” McFadden campaign manager Carl Kuhl said.
On Lazard Middle Market’s website, a disclaimer reads that “References to ‘Lazard’ include Lazard Frères & Co. LLC, Lazard Middle Market LLC, and other subsidiaries of Lazard Ltd.”

The ad is among others that has drawn McFadden’s ire, including an 18-month-old web ad by the Alliance for a Better Minnesota that features video of McFadden’s daughter Molly -- taken from a McFadden ad -- and paints him as “Just another rich guy who likes to fire people.” The ad was not commissioned by the Franken campaign.

Kuhl said McFadden has run a positive campaign, and that advertismeents lambasting Franken for voting with President Obama 97 percent of the time are “factually based on Sen. Franken’s record. Period.”
“We’re not running any negative personal advertising. We’re not going after Sen. Franken’s character,” he said. “We’re talking about Sen. Franken’s record.”


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters