A Republican-allied political group launched digital advertisements on Wednesday targeting a group of DFL senators in swing districts over their support for a gas tax increase.
The ads from the Minnesota Jobs Coalition aimed at eight DFL state senators come as Gov. Mark Dayton and leaders from the DFL Senate and House GOP try to negotiate a budget deal in hopes of finishing the legislative session on time, by Monday at midnight.
Dayton and Senate DFLers want a gas tax increase to help fund an increase in transportation projects. House Republicans, while also calling for accelerated transportation spending, have made blocking a gas tax increase one of their top priorities.
Arguing Minnesotans are "overwhelmingly opposed" to a gas tax increase, Jobs Coalition president Mark Drake said that "our new ad campaign holds these Democrats accountable." The Jobs Coalition has close ties to House Republicans.
The eight DFL senators targeted with the digital ads are: LeRoy Stumpf of Plummer, Lyle Koenen of Clara City, Kevin Dahle of Northfield, Matt Schmit of Red Wing, Vicki Jensen of Owatonna, Bev Scalze of Little Canada, Melisa Franzen of Edina and Greg Clausen of Apple Valley.
Those senators voted late last month for a Senate transportation funding bill that would levy a new tax on gas at the wholesale level that would rise with the cost of fuel, helping to fund more than $10 billion in road and bridge projects over a decade.