MN Election Update

With four weeks to go until election day, the campaign ads are becoming increasingly frequent. What is different this year is that every level of office, down to the Secretary of State (an administrative position), is coming up with the funds to run TV ads. And then there are counter ads. And the news media jumping in to evaluate whether the ad and counter ads are accurate.

A television ad produced by an independent expenditure group takes aim at Republican Kim Crockett in her bid to defeat Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon.

The ad makes some truthful claims about Crockett’s stand on a couple of key election issues but also significantly misleads viewers by claiming she “proudly calls herself your ‘election denier-in-chief.’”

The ad starts with a narrator promoting Simon, saying “Secretary of State Steve Simon makes it his job to defend democracy.” That’s followed up with audio from Simon himself saying, “I have pledged to do everything to always protect the freedom to vote.”

The ad then quickly pivots to attacking Crockett, including a grainy black-and-white video of her speaking at a forum in June.

“Kim Crockett proudly calls herself your ‘election denier-in-chief,’” the ad says, with the last part of the quote making it appear Crockett is calling herself that nickname.


Because this ad includes a mix of misleading and out-of-context material along with truthful claims, it gets a “C” on the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “Truth Test.”


The state auditor’s race is also getting more play on the local public affairs program, Almanac, as several DFL candidates have refused to participate in long-held debates. This position is in place to enable an outside audit of various forms of government. Ryan Wilson is the GOP challenger and Julie Blaha is the DFL incumbent. There is some question as to whether she should have stepped in and audited the disbursal of $250 million in federal funds in the Feeding our Future fraud scandal.

But by far the biggest race in terms of ad expenditures is the competition for the seat held by congresswoman Angie Craig (DFL) in Minnesota District 2. This is the second challenge by Tyler Kistner who narrowly lost the race two years ago. During the Vikings game or the news, there are sometimes three ad installments per commercial break. Angie is back-roading in a Jeep looking down to earth and Tyler shows off his beautiful young family. The race is often cited among the top ten most competitive races in the country.

Perhaps energy generated from this political tete-a-tete is stirring up the rest- but whatever the reason Minnesotans are getting an earful about each contest from the Minnesota Governor to the Minnesota Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor, and even on down to the County Attorneys. Tradition has it that a last-minute bombshell always explodes in the weeks leading up to November 8th. I can only imagine what that will be.

On the Mall in DC