WASHINGTON – As the campaign enters its final two weeks, the liberal group Alliance for a Better Minnesota is launching a large ad campaign directed against Republican candidate Mike McFadden, according to a source with knowledge of the ad buy.
The high six-figure ad will attack McFadden on Medicare and Social Security, echoing a line of attack that DFL Sen. Al Franken’s campaign has been pushing recently. Super PACs such as ABM are not permitted to coordinate their activities with candidates but often follow the themes of the candidates they support.
The ad marks the first significant foray onto broadcast TV in the Senate race for ABM and the biggest investment in the race by an outside group so far. ABM is funded by labor unions and liberal donors, including Alida Messinger, the former wife of Gov. Mark Dayton.
It formed a federal super PAC specifically to defend Franken that is separate from its gubernatorial and state legislative election campaign accounts. That means the money cannot be spent on those state races.
According to recent campaign finance reports, ABM’s super PAC has more than $859,00 on hand so the ad blast against McFadden will likely empty most of its coffers.
Republican-allied outside groups have mostly stayed out of the race.
McFadden is also up on the air with a new ad that features his daughter, Molly, explaining the personal qualities that would make her father a good senator. The McFadden campaign did not say how much it was spending on the ad.
A McFadden spokesman said the ABM ad campaign shows Franken is in trouble with voters.
“It looks like Democrats are just waking up to what we’ve known for months: this race is tightening,” said McFadden spokesman Tom Erickson.