Ebola ads color final day of Minnesota campaign

Published 10:33 am Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s political candidates labored Monday to stir voters to the polls for the midterm election, and a race long regarded as comfortable for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton turned fiery amid new GOP radio ads accusing him of leaving the state unprepared for Ebola.

Dayton called the late-breaking ads “fear tactics” while Republican challenger Jeff Johnson said the topic was fair game.

The radio spots from the state Republican Party features a woman voicing worry about Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s ability to manage a potential yet unrealized health crisis and saying, “I’m not voting for Dayton; I’m not letting my family get put at risk.” The commercials are a companion to full-page GOP ads that ran Sunday in many Minnesota newspapers that also raised doubts about the state’s Ebola preparedness.

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Dayton has convened two dozen high-level meetings on Ebola in the past month, and he laid out a monitoring program for travelers and health workers who arrive from West Africa, where the virus has hit hardest.

“They’ve gone from the garbage can into the sewer,” Dayton said of his political opponents. “It’s just so untrue.”

Although Johnson distanced himself from the production of the party ad, he said the topic was relevant to the race. In recent debates, he refrained from criticizing Dayton’s Ebola approach.

“I’ve been talking about competence and been talking about having an engaged governor who is able to make things work and I think it’s fair to question that,” he said.