Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A new web ad from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills, who is challenging Sen. Amy Klobuchar, is causing a lot of controversy.
The ad mimics a famous ad by the late Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, which is enraging Democrats.
The late Wellstone, who died in a plane crash, is an iconic figure among Democrats. His 1990 ad was called “Fast Paced Paul,” featuring a then-unknown college professor running for the U.S. Senate.
The Bills ad is called “Quick Kurt” and it replicates every scene from the Wellstone ad.
The liberal Paul Wellstone and the conservative Kurt Bills could hardly be more different, but Bills says they have a lot in common.
“Everybody said Wellstone can’t … he can’t win. He has no money. He just walked into a beat up bus and he is travelling around the state,” said Wellstone.
However, for Democrats, Bills’ ad is not a tribute. It is an insult. Wellstone’s son David said it’s “disrespectful.”
“I think it’s a stretch, and I think he didn’t know my dad. I think he is mouthing off,” said David Wellstone. “That’s what I think. To be comparing himself in any way shape or form is ridiculous.”
Bills says he means no disrespect and that the ad represents an “homage” to the late Democrat.
“I think there’s a lot of conservatives out there who didn’t agree with him on anything, but really respected Senator Wellstone and what he did and how he stood up for what he believed in,” said Bills. “We do the same thing.”
“Quick Kurt” is a web ad right now, but the underfunded Bills campaign says they want to run it on television when they raise enough money.
A representative for Bills said the campaign raised $50,000 in the first 24 hours after they put the ad on their website.