In the final stretch of the campaign, the conservative Minnesota Jobs Coalition is targeting vulnerable House DFLers in a six-figure television ad buy.

It is the group’s first television campaign and it will target eight competitive districts, said Minnesota Jobs Coalition chairman Ben Golnik. Republicans need to win seven seats to take control of the Minnesota House.

One of the group’s targets is Rep. Andrew Falk, who represents House District 17A near Murdock.

“Falk can run, but he can’t hide from his record of failed policies,” the ad states while images of Falk jogging away from a Jobs Coalition tracker flash across the screen. “Falk voted with Minneapolis liberals to bring Obamacare to Minnesota.”

Like the Republican Party of Minnesota, GOP candidates and their allies, the Jobs Coalition is capitalizing on the perception that Gov. Mark Dayton and the DFL Legislature have ignored the needs of greater Minnesota and are out-of-step with average voters.

Golnik said similar ads will run in House Districts 12A, represented by Rep. Jay McNamar, 2A, represented by Rep. Roger Erickson, and 10A, represented by Rep. John Ward.

Additional ads will focus on spending and tax increases in four suburban districts, including 42A, represented by Rep. Barb Yarusso, 56B, represented by Rep. Will Morgan, 42B which is represented by Rep. Jason Isaacson, and 36B represented by Rep. Melissa Hortman.

All of the Jobs Coalition targets are districts where Democrats narrowly won election in 2012 or where former presidential candidate Mitt Romney won two years ago.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson is going up with three more ads before he faces off against Gov. Mark Dayton on Nov. 4.

One of the ads, “Afterthought,” plays on a theme Republicans across the state have focused on for months — that Dayton’s administration is too focused on issues in the Twin Cities and not enough on greater Minnesota.

“My wife Sondi and I were born and raised in greater Minnesota,” says Johnson, who grew up in Detroit Lakes. “That’s why it’s so frustrating to watch Mark Dayton treat us like an afterthought. Whether it’s unfair school funding, light rail and trolleys in the metro. I understand and appreciate greater Minnesota and I’ll make it a priority when I’m governor.”

Another ad, “Champion,” is nearly identical to “Afterthought,” but is targeted at voters on the Iron Range who are split over mining.

“Whether it’s unfair school funding, light rail and trolleys in the metro, or hostility to mining projects like PolyMet,” Johnson said referring to the copper/nickel mining project that has become a flash point in this year’s election. “Let’s be honest: If Mark Dayton is re-elected, PolyMet is dead.”

Meanwhile, Dayton is out with his fourth ad as well. It’s called “Better Chance” and focuses on Dayton and the DFL Legislature’s efforts to expand all-day kindergarten and early childhood education, and features Dayton interacting with kids at a pre-school.

Updated 3:40 p.m.

The Republican Party of Minnesota today agreed to change a television campaign ad critical of Gov. Mark Dayton, after a woman complained about the use of her dead grandson’s picture.

Yvonne Dean, of Starbuck, Minnesota, said it was painful to see her family’s tragedy used for politics.

The ad showed a photo of Eric Dean, the 4-year-old boy who was killed by his stepmother in 2013. The case triggered a statewide review of child protection services, and renewed questions about a state law preventing investigators from looking at previous incidents of abuse.

In the ad, an announcer appears to lay blame at the governor, saying it was “downright horrifying that he signed a law making it more difficult to investigate maltreatment.”

Dean was shocked to see an image of her late grandson in the political ad. She said it was hurtful and it was wrong. Her complaints pushed the GOP to remove her grandson’s photo.

“We as a family are trying to heal, and we can’t when these things happen,” she said. “It dishonors Eric’s memory when it’s used this way.”

Dean, who describes herself as a Republican voter, said she shared her concerns with state GOP chairman Keith Downey and asked him to remove the ad. She said Downey initially declined, telling her that the photo was in the public domain. She said Downey also told her that he believes Dayton’s policies were to blame for Eric’s death.

Dean said she has never blamed Dayton or the law he signed, which prevents investigators looking into reports of abuse from seeking previous unsubstantiated reports.

“It wasn’t passed until 2014 and that couldn’t have done anything with Eric’s case,” Dean said. “Eric passed in 2013. That couldn’t have affected him.”

Dean said Downey later called her back and said he would change the ad by removing Eric’s picture and story. However, the Republican Party decided to change the ad only after she complained publicly.

“I am satisfied that he agreed to work with me and agreed to do that,” she said. “I’m not sure they were fully aware of the impact that it would have. I think they should have looked before they leaped.”

Through a spokeswoman, Downey declined an interview request. In a written statement, he said he apologized to Dean for not contacting her before the ad was produced. Downey also said a revised version of the ad will begin airing soon. But he did not back away from his criticism of Dayton.

The law referred to in the ad was passed with Democratic and Republican votes last session.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson also issued a statement, saying he supports the party’s decision to revise the ad.

“This little boy’s picture should never have been used in an ad,” Johnson said.