Groups start running TV ads in legislative races

The House Republican Campaign Committee and The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a group working to elect DFL candidates to the Legislature, started running ads this week on cable television.

The ads are the first to target specific legislative races.

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) started running statewide ads earlier this month, but the latest round of spots are aimed at seats held by Republican incumbents or open seats.

The group committed roughly $300,000 on the ad campaign at Comcast cable through Oct. 7. The targets include legislative districts in northwest Minnesota, Eagan, Edina and the northern Twin Cities suburbs.

ABM executive director Carrie Lucking wouldn’t discuss the group’s strategy, but said it is focused on helping Democrats reclaim the House and Senate.

“We don’t talk about spending but you can expect to see a variety of ads in both in the metro and Greater Minnesota between now and the election,” Lucking said.

Meanwhile, the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC), which is the campaign arm of the House Republican caucus, has purchased $236,000 through the November election to help Republicans keep control of the Minnesota House.

The group spent the largest amount of money on GOP Rep. Kirk Stensrud of Eden Prairie and Stacey Stout who is running in an open seat that includes Maplewood and White Bear Lake. The HRCC committed spending about $40,000 on each race. An individual with knowledge of the buy said the HRCC confirmed the buy and they’ll continue to purchase ads through November.

Officials representing both parties and independent expenditure groups say they expect a greater amount of spending on legislative races this year.

Democrats and liberal interest groups hope the spending will help them win back the state Legislature so the party can enact some of Gov. Mark Dayton’s agenda.

Republicans and conservative groups want to keep control of the Legislature and prevent Dayton’s priorities from passing.

Republicans currently have an eleven seat margin in the Minnesota House and an eight seat margin in the Minnesota Senate.

Complicating this year’s elections are the large number of open seats in play. A court panel designed a new set of political lines this year as a result of redistricting, and at least a quarter of the 201 seats in the Legislature will see new faces next year as a result of incumbent pairings, primary defeats and retirements.

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