Fresh evidence of a hot congressional race in northern Minnesota came this weekend as WCCO, the CBS affiliate in the Twin Cities, acceded to a demand by freshman Republican Chip Cravaack to stop airing an attack ad that suggests that “instead of town hall meetings, you had to pay to see him.”
The spot, which went up on the air in the Twin Cities on Thursday, is sponsored by the House Majority PAC, a political organization dedicated to winning control of the U.S. House for Democrats.
Although the two-week, $250,000 ad buy is running on Twin Cities’ television stations, it is aimed at the Eighth Congressional District in northern Minnesota, where Cravaack is fending off a spirited challenge by former DFL congressman Rick Nolan.
‘CCO apparently stopped airing the House Majority PAC spot on Friday, the same day the Cravaack campaign complained in writing that it is “a blatant attempt to defame Mr. Cravaack.”
The claim is based partly on a $10-a-head luncheon with Cravaack in Duluth last year sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Cravaack says that the $10 charge was for lunch, not for admission.
In any case, his letter states that he held 17 town hall meetings, seven tele-townhall conferences, and provided “mobile office visits to 75 cities “in 2011 alone, all free of charge.”
WCCO communications director Kiki Rosatti declined to comment on Cravaack’s request, other than to say “we have no further airings of the spot scheduled at this station.”
This is the second ad the group has run targeting Cravaack. The first one ran last year.
House Majority PAC spokesman Andy Stone said the group "unquestionably stands behind the content of the advertisement." The ad remains up on three other network affiliates in the area.
The controversy comes as the American Action Network, an outsided group led by former Sen. Norm Coleman, has started running ads against Nolan in Minnesota.
More from Star Tribune
More from Hot Dish Politics
Flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff through Monday.
Legislative leaders are calling on Gov. Mark Dayton to call a special session to approve a public-works bill.
Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles sent a letter to the executive director of the Perpich Center for Arts Education, urging her to hand over information his office is seeking, or face sanction.
The declaration by Gov. Mark Dayton comes ahead of Beyoncé's fourth concert in Minnesota. She performs Monday night at TCF Bank Stadium.
Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday criticized the "disappointing" end of session, which collapsed in the final hours over transportation and bonding.