The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, an organization that has made electing Democrats to the state Legislature its top priority this year, is dipping into the competitive 8th Congressional District race between Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and DFL candidate Rick Nolan.
The group’s new website, Keeping Up With The Cravaacks, is meant to paint the GOP incumbent as wealthy and out of touch with every day Minnesotans.
“The ‘everyday’ families I know are trying to figure out how to make their mortgage payment or send their kids to college,” said Alliance for a Better Minnesota Executive Director Carrie Lucking.
If the site reminds you of Keeping Up with Kardashians, the reality show that profiles socialite and media darling Kim Kardashian, you’re not imagining things. That’s by design, the group says.
Among other things, the site criticizes Cravaack for spending more than $1,000 a month on the car he uses to get around the district.
But in an editorial, the Duluth News Tribune pointed out that the paper’s own reporting showed that Cravaack tried to find a good deal.
“Leasing a vehicle for $1,000 per month proved cheaper than being reimbursed for mileage at the federal rate of 51 cents per mile, Cravaack’s spokesman Shawn Ryan explained to the News Tribune,” the editorial stated.
Cravaack’s spokesman told the paper that Cravaack needed a short-term lease, a higher mileage cap to get around his massive district, and that the car had to meet federal greenhouse gas emissions standards, all making the lease more costly than most.
The ad also brings up Cravaack’s personal finances; Cravaack and his wife have assets worth between $1 and $3 million, according to his most recent report. That puts him somewhat above Nolan, who is worth between $740,000 and $1.6 million.
Ben Golnik, an adviser to the Cravaack campaign, called the claims false. He added that the Alliance’s effort just shows that the group is worried Nolan is a “deeply flawed” candidate.
“Chip Cravaack will continue to focus on bringing more jobs back to the 8th District by supporting pro-growth tax reform to aid small business and reducing regulatory barriers to economic growth,” Golnik said.
This is the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s first major foray into the Cravaack-Nolan race. So far, the group has focused its efforts on helping Democrats win seats in the state Legislature.
At this point, the Alliance doesn’t have plans to run their own ads against Cravaack, said Lucking.
But she said the group will be supporting on-going efforts in the 8th to defeat Cravaack, including a ground game set up by CREDO PAC, an liberal action committee aimed at defeating Republicans running for U.S. House, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which wants to flip Cravaack’s seat.
“Our niche in this particular race is what we can do locally and online to support their efforts,” Lucking said.