Democrat Jim Graves goes after Bachmann on Verso Paper Mill closure

Democrat Jim Graves has started running TV ads promoting his campaign in Minnesota’s 6th District. Graves released two ads on his YouTube page today. The first ad touts his personal and professional background.

The second ad criticizes Republican Michele Bachmann for failing to “contact workers” after the Verso Paper Mill closed as a result of a fire.

The ad features a montage of several workers (some wearing United Steelworkers shirts) criticizing Bachman for not reaching out to workers who lost their jobs as a result of the fire.

Bachmann did meet with city officials from Sartell in August to discuss the future of the site, but it was after company officials announced that the mill would close. The appearance was a part of a jobs tour of the district. She also released a statement when company officials announced that the mill would close.

Gov. Dayton, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and several GOP state lawmakers visited with company officials and workers in the weeks after the fire in the hope of convincing company officials to rebuild in Sartell. The company eventually decided against that option.

Bachmann’s campaign hasn’t responded to Graves criticism.

Update: Bachmann’s campaign manager Chase Kroll issued a statement calling the ad a “character smear.” He said Bachmann’s office was on the scene within an hour of the fire. Kroll also said Bachmann was in direct contact with Verso’s president, Sartell city officials and other members of the delegation.

“Bachmann has publicly committed to helping work through any regulatory burdens that may prevent the sale of the plant and the replacement of much-needed jobs in the Sartell area.

In Washington, Congresswoman Bachmann’s office contacted Senator Klobuchar’s office to coordinate efforts on behalf of the Verso employees and make certain there would be an exchange of information among the Minnesota delegation.

Additionally, Congresswoman Bachmann sent letters to Sartell area residents sharing her concern, encouraging them, and providing her contact information to anyone who may need help following the explosion. In honor of Mr. Maus, who tragically died in the Verso explosion, Congresswoman Bachmann had a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol, which she then donated to the Maus family.

For Jim Graves to politicize this tragic disaster with dishonest, false, irresponsible claims is reprehensible.

We can’t trust Jim Graves to keep his promises. We certainly can’t trust Jim Graves to accurately portray the needs of the people in this district.”

Officials with Graves’ campaign didn’t respond to questions as to where the ads are running and how much the campaign intends to spend on the ad buy.

Update: Adam Graves, campaign manager for Graves, says they bought 1,000 points over the next week and a half. Trying to determine what the equates to in dollars. AP says the total ad buy is $300,000.

He said it’s part of their overall strategy to run ads between now and election day.

Adam Graves also said the campaign is basing their claim on Bachmann’s activity on the issue on a meeting held by some workers. He said the meeting was held after the fire but before it was announced that the mill would be closed.

“One worker took the floor and recounted, to nods and shouts of agreement, how every one of their elected officials had responded and reached out to them except for Rep. Bachmann. The workers expressed outrage, and this fact was reiterated to us by their leaders who represent the mill workers union,” Adam Graves wrote.

I’ll update the post if/when they respond.

Here’s the ad:

  • If Mr. Graves cares so much about employing the Mill workers, why doesn’t he just open up that check book and buy it? He has the resources to save that Mill all by himself.

  • Gary

    Why is Bachmann always worried about her fame before the plight of her constituents?

  • Jamie

    How do you know that, Andy? You know how much money he has? I would think it would take many millions, maybe even a billion dollars to re-open the mill.

  • Frank Livingston

    As a 40-year career fire chief with eleven different departments, I always found it discussing when any politician from Washington, DC showed up at a fire scene with a camera. This is done for political points only. What is more disgusting is when the politicians’ opponent makes a big deal out of it in a political ad. Is this man going to politicize the next grieving mother or father when their child is killed? It appears to me Graves is lacking in character on this issue.

  • Diane Burns

    . If Ms Bachmann has done so much for Sartell I can’t believe she didn’t make that public until she was called out. Apparently, the workers didn’t get her message so who didn’t communicate.Jim Graves has already proven he works for MN in creating and keeping businesses here. Ms Bachman would rather spend her time making outrageous and inflamatory statements to be in the National spotlight. Let’s be clear she needs to put out there what she has done for the 6th district in her last terms besides letting us pay her salary while she campaigns for Presdient.

  • Charles Phillips

    Please Minnesota, replace Michell Bachmann. I’m tired of hearing about her nonsensical rants.Has she paid attention to her own District 6 or has she been too busy railing against Obamacare.