Minnesota's sleepy U.S. Senate race is waking up a little bit. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is buying some ad time on at least one Twin Cities TV station. WCCO-TV's political file reports that Klobuchar has reserved roughly $80,000 in ads from Oct. 1 through Oct. 8.
The ad buy, which was first reported by The Associated Press, comes as Klobuchar is polling well ahead of Republican Kurt Bills. A spokesman for Klobuchar would only say that it's the first portion of a statewide ad buy and that it's the first ad the campaign is running this election cycle.
Bills' campaign has not formally inquired about purchasing ad time at the four major Twin Cities TV stations. He is at a significant financial disadvantage heading into the November election. Klobuchar reported having more than $5 million in the bank in July. The Bills campaign had roughly $5,000 in the bank.
Bills, however, issued a statement criticizing Klobuchar for campaigning in Iowa on Tuesday for congressional candidate Christie Vilsack.
"Klobuchar is using her office as nothing but a stepping stone to the Presidency. She has avoided the big issues facing our country, avoided scrutiny for her failures, and is now avoiding Minnesotans in favor of Iowans," Bills said in a statement.
As we reported earlier this month, Klobuchar's speaking engagements at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte created some chatter that she was looking at higher office. Klobuchar denied the claim that she was interested in a future White House run. Her spokesman, Linden Zakula re-emphasized that position again today. Zakula also said Klobuchar campaigned in Hastings, Faribault and Austin on Tuesday and is campaigning in Rochester and Red Wing today.
Bills is also touting an endorsement from a conservative group. FreedomWorks PAC announced today that it is backing Bills campaign.
A spokeswoman for FreedomWorks, which is co-chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, didn't immediately provide information as to what the endorsement will mean for Bills in terms of fundraising or independent expenditures.
Update: Russ Walker, executive director with FreedomWorks said the endorsement puts their members on notice that Bills has been vetted by the group. He said they have not committed to spending any money on Bills but suggested it could change in the coming weeks.
"It's a race that we want to pay attention to and see if it changes," Walker said. "If it does and we think it's winnable, we'll start investing in that race."