MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A television campaign ad featuring Minnesota 3rd District Congressman Erik Paulsen highlights his work to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
The ad also serves to put distance between the Republican Congressman and President Donald Trump.
The Congressman is featured enjoying the outdoors with his family in the ad.
“I camp and canoe with my family in Minnesota’s Yellowstone — the Boundary Waters,” Paulsen said. “So when President Trump tried to take away important environmental protections for the Boundary Waters, I said, ‘No way.'”
This is true. Paulsen voted against fellow Republicans and President Trump, who tried to end a two-year moratorium on mining exploration near the BWCA.
“I’m for mining, just not there. It’s too special, too important a place,” he said in the ad.
What makes this ad unusual among Minnesota political ads is Paulsen’s Declaration of Independence from Donald Trump. The five-term Congressman did not attend the president’s boisterous Minnesota rally in June. He said he did not vote for Trump in 2016, writing in the name of Florida Senator Marco Rubio instead. And he defied Republican leaders, supporting legislation to protect Dreamers, children who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents.
The ad makes Paulsen out to be a Republican rebel, but independent ratings groups show he supports Trump 97.6 percent of the time. And despite his vote to protect the BWCA, the League of Conservation Voters gives him a 16 percent lifetime environmental voting record.
Paulsen may be separating himself from President Trump in part because of his unusual Minnesota suburban district. He is one of only 13 Republicans in the country to win a seat to Congress in a district that Hillary Clinton carried.
In 2016, Clinton won the Minnesota 3rd District by nearly 10 points: 50.8 percent Clinton, 41.4 percent Trump.
“I’ll stand up to my party, or President Trump, to protect Minnesota,” Paulsen said.
And one more thing about the ad, in which Paulsen defends the Boundary Waters as he stands on the windy shore looking over a lake: It is not the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The Paulsen campaign confirmed to WCCO-TV that the campaign ad was actually filmed on a lake in Carver County, a suburban area outside Minneapolis.
Here is the full transcript of the ad:
My parents taught me to love the outdoors. I camp and canoe with my family in Minnesota’s Yellowstone — the Boundary Waters. So when President Trump tried to take away important environmental protections for the Boundary Waters, I said ‘No way.’ I’m for mining, just not there. It’s too special, too important a place. I’m Erik Paulsen and I approve this message, because I’ll stand up to my party, or President Trump, to protect Minnesota.”
Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check: