A conservative group called the American Future Fund says it will begin running an ad in support of Sen. Norm Coleman. You can see the ad on the Rothenberg Political Report.
The ad starts with images of the collapsed 35-W bridge and notes Coleman’s role in securing federal funding for a new bridge. As far as we can tell it’s the first time the collapse has been used in a political ad, and it’s prompted a strong response from the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49. Here’s the release they sent out:
“On August 1, 2007, we lost a friend and a brother. Greg Jolstad, an Operating Engineer who was working on the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, died when the bridge collapsed without warning. We still mourn the sudden loss of our friend, a devoted husband, father, and a member of our union local.
“But today, an out-of-state political organization is running a campaign ad in Minnesota that uses images of a tragic event to promote a political agenda and the reelection campaign of Senator Norm Coleman.
“Greg’s family and the people of Minnesota deserve better than the shameless exploitation of this tragedy for political purposes, which is beneath the standards of our great state. Out of respect for Greg, we ask Senator Norm Coleman to condemn this ad in the strongest possible terms, and call on him to demand that this shadowy organization to pull the ad off the air without delay.”
The union local has endorsed DFLer Al Franken.
Because this ad is what’s known as an independent expenditure, legally there is supposed to be no connection between the group that paid for it and Coleman’s campaign.
So far there’s been no response from the American Future Fund.
A spokesman for Coleman’s campaign tells MPR’s Mark Zdechlik that Coleman will not call for the ad to be pulled. The spokesman adds that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on independent ads targeting Coleman.