The independent group supporting Mark Andrew's bid for mayor has released its first TV ad.

The 30-second spot, running on cable and possibly networks, features firefighter union secretary Joe Mattison highlighting Andrew's work on recycling, LGBT issues, childcare and women's pay equity.

It was produced by the Coalition for a Better Minneapolis, a group that can raise and spend unlimited funds in the mayoral race. They cannot coordinate with the campaign. The group's donors and total spending won't be known until October 29, a week before the election.

Kendal Killian, the group's treasurer, said they spent $18,302.93 for the first week of air time. "Our goal is to at least maintain that level through the election," he wrote in an e-mail. The Coalition also recently sent a direct mailer to Minneapolis households in support of Andrew.

The buy indicates the influence that independent expenditure groups are likely to have in the last days of the election, largely because they are not hindered by $500 per-person fundraising limits.

Jackie Cherryhomes, who is funding her own cable TV ads, purchased just under $3,000 of air time so far by comparison, according to records at Comcast.

Betsy Hodges also has an independent expenditure group backing her, though MPLS has not heard of any activity from them just yet.