Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig released a new ad last week which features a self-described “lifelong Republican.” That man is David Vesledahl, who criticizes Craig’s Republican opponent Tyler Kistner and praises Craig’s work to lower drug prices in Congress.
The problem is: Vesledahl doesn’t live in Craig’s district due to redistricting and voted as a Democrat in the last election.
Vesledahl lives in Minnesota’s First Congressional District in Nerstrand, Minn., according to a new report from the Washington Free Beacon. Craig represents the Second Congressional District.
Voter files obtained by the Free Beacon show Vesledahl also voted in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Even though the Craig campaign acknowledged that Vesledahl can’t vote in Craig’s district, a spokeswoman told the Free Beacon, “Dave describes himself as a lifelong Republican and his voter file registers him as a ‘Lean Republican.'”
Vesledahl calls Kistner a “fraud” in the new ad.
The ad draws similarities to an ad campaign in 2018, when Craig was facing off against incumbent Jason Lewis. A pro-Craig ad produced by the Giffords PAC used a man called Bob Mokos to highlight Craig’s gun-control stance. Mokos described himself as an “NRA sharpshooter.”
In a 2018 Star Tribune article, Mokos was profiled as a gun-control activist who was involved in many different activist groups, including Moms Demand Action. The ad itself drew criticism as Mokos’ handling of a firearm was irresponsible by any common-sense standards. Mokos had his finger on the trigger, and at one point held the gun barrel to his hand.
The ad style is a strategy other Democrats across the country are using to distance themselves from President Joe Biden’s poor approval numbers, the Free Beacon notes. In Ohio, Rep. Tim Ryan is celebrating the endorsement of a self-described Republican who worked in the Obama administration.
In Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly is also touting “Republican” endorsements from the activist group The Lincoln Project, which is effectively dedicated to electing Democrats.
Craig has been trying to brand herself as “bipartisan” with these ads even though her record in Congress shows she has voted in line with President Biden’s positions 100% of the time. She has voted with her party’s congressional leadership 97% of the time, according to Fox 9.
The race between Craig and Kistner is one of the most closely-watched swing district races in the nation. The last time Craig and Kistner faced off, Craig won by only 2 points, despite her district going Democrat by 7 points in the presidential election.
Alpha News reached out to Craig for comment but did not receive a response.