By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The ad wars are ramping up in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District. National Democrats are running a tough new TV ad linking Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen to Donald Trump.

But is it true? Pat Kessler looked into the ad’s claims for a Reality Check.

Democrats link Congressman Paulsen to Donald Trump in an ad that highlights Trump’s most controversial comments.

“The presidential candidate has a long history of racism and discrimination, degrades women, and mocks the disabled,” the ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) says. “And Paulsen says, ‘I’m going to vote, and have said I plan on voting, for the nominee.'”

Those Paulsen comments were on WCCO-TV on May 22, when Trump was the presumptive nominee. Here’s the full quote:

“I’m going to vote for, and I said I plan to vote for, the nominee coming out of the convention,” Paulsen said.

Here’s the problem: By August, Paulsen refused to say if he’ll vote for Trump.

“Donald Trump has not earned my vote,” Paulsen said at a 3rd District Congressional debate on Aug. 17. “The candidate that I endorsed is not on the ballot this fall, and that’s disappointing.”

Paulsen supported Florida Senator Marco Rubio for President, and Rubio says he’ll support Trump, but Paulsen won’t even confirm he’ll vote Republican.

“Who are you going to vote for for president?” a reporter asked Paulsen recently.

“Whoever earns my vote,” Paulsen responded. “The candidate I endorsed is not going to be on the ballot.”

“So it might not be a Republican?” the reporter asked

“The candidate I endorsed is not on the ballot,” Paulsen said.

So when the DCCC ad says, “What does it say that Erik Paulsen supports Donald Trump?” that’s false, but not completely. Paulsen once said he’ll support the Republican nominee, before it was Trump. Now, he won’t say.

For that reason, the DCCC ad is misleading because it lacks context.

The 3rd Congressional District is considered a possible “swing” district this year that could be won by either party. Congressman Paulsen is running against Democratic State Senator Terri Bonoff.

Pat Kessler

Comments (18)
  1. Kate Wallace says:

    Pat=I listened to your report re the DCCC ad re Erik Paulsen. When I called the campaign office about a month ago and asked whether Paulsen was going to vote for Trump, the campaign guy said “Yes. Definitely.” I’d say that is support. Paulsen’s running and hiding and we all know it. In my opinion, the ad’s not misleading. It’s spot on. And I hope they run it and run it and run it. Thanks for your work. I’ve watched you for years and appreciate your professionalism.

  2. Tim says:

    Really? The Democrats have the worst possible candidate in US history, though the Republicans have not fared any better. Say a lot for the lack of fidelity in the electoral system. I vote for none of the above.

  3. I think much less of Paulsen after this article if in fact he does not plan on voting for Trump. Essentially a half vote for Clinton.

    Trump did not mock the disabled. This is pure fiction. Trump mocked a reporter, Serge Kovaleski, for changing his story about another bogus story on Trump. Serge’s disability is not spastic. And neither is Ted Cruz who Trump mocked in the exact same way (you didn’t know that did you?) Trump has also given millions to charities that help the disabled including raising nearly six million dollars for Wounded Warriors just recently, a million of which was his own money (you don’t want to hear that do you?)

    Trump has an issue mocking people childishly, and as of late anyway he appears to have realized this is not helping him and has knocked it off.

  4. Kate Wallace says:

    One may choose to deny all of the deplorable things Trump has said and done, including mocking a disabled reporter (it’s on tape and has been used in numerous campaign ads) and appearing on Russian TV promoting the achievements of Putin, the world leader he prefers. He’s called our generals “rubble.” Today’s Newsweek story will reveal more of the true Trump. However, an editorial in Sept 11 Star Trib sums this stellar Republican up for many. He knows how to get things done:” He gave money to politicians, he said, “because when I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass. They kiss my ass.” He told the Wall Street Journal, “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do. As a businessman, I need that.” Colin Powell called Trump a “national disgrace.” I believe him.

    1. Do more research, Trump did not mock a disabled reporter. Trump mocked a reporter, I’ll give you that, but the ad (and lib media story) claims he was mocking the guy because he was disabled. This is a FALSE NARRATIVE, and they are playing to your gullibility and willingness to believe whatever they feed you.

      Do you want a leader who gets things done? Or do you want a politician who panders to whoever they are standing in front of, then once in office gets nothing done?

      Trump did what he had to do to get what he wanted as a business man. He got it done, he made millions. I agree with what most of Trump wants and is campaigning for. If he gets it done in office, then I’ll be happy.

  5. Kally Waters says:

    I think this ad is now back firing as Trump may win Minnesota and carry many Republicans with him. Oppps!

  6. Kate Wallace says:

    Trump “may win Minnesota”? Rather than rely on intuition or wishful thinking, one might check reality: Nate Silver at 538 has Clinton’s national chances of winning at 62%. He’s got her chances of winning Minnesota at 78.8% . StarTrib’s Sept 18 MN poll has Clinton up by 6+. (Minnesota women prefer Clinton by 22 percentage points, and she leads in all demographic breakdowns.) So, wishful thinking aside, there’s always reality.