SOUTHERN MINNESOTA - Rep. Tim Walz's campaign kicked into gear Tuesday for his re-election as representative to Minnesota's 1st Congressional District with a flurry of public activity.
Walz, a National Guard veteran, started the day by participating in the launch of Veterans United, a coalition of veterans opposed to the marriage amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot. The amendment will legally define marriage as between "one man and one woman."
He was joined by Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt, whose openly gay son Andrew was killed while serving in Afghanistan last year.
"To ask a young American to serve this nation, and in the case of Corporal Wilfahrt, to make the ultimate sacrifice, how can we use our sacred constitution to limit the freedom to simply marry the person that they love?" asked Walz.
Sara Severs, campaign manager to the Walz campaign, said Walz participated in the event as a favor to the Wilfahrts and because of how strongly he feels about the topic. However, said there will be no special focus on the issue for his campaign. She said he will still openly talk about his beliefs on the topic if asked.
Later in the day, the Walz campaign also launched its first TV ad of the campaign. The ad, named "Goals," focuses on highlighting Walz's willingness to work with members of the Republican Party to create bipartisan legislation. The ad also emphasizes his work in passing the STOCK Act, which was aimed at curbing members of Congress from profiting from insider information they obtain during their work. The ad makes no reference to his Republican opponent Allen Quist.
The ad can be viewed at timwalz.zissousecure.com/contribute.
Severs said the campaign believes focusing on portraying Walz as bipartisan will have strong appeal with voters sick of the partisan gridlock in Washington.
"I think people are frustrated. They're sick of the bickering," said Severs, "They want somebody they know will take everybody's views into account to do what's best for the district."
The Walz campaign declined to provide most information about the creation of the ad. The campaign said the ad will be targeted for several weeks in the Rochester and Mankato markets, along with generalized distribution on cable.
Additionally, the campaign is planning several more ads before the Nov. 6 election. Potential subjects for the future ads will focus on wide spectrum of topics, but may include some emphasis on Walz's work with veterans and job creation.
Beyond that, Severs said the campaign is focusing on the upcoming debate between Walz and Quist this Thursday in Rochester. The 90-minute debate will start at noon, and it will be streaming live at www.ksmq.org. A subsequent debate through Debate Minnesota is scheduled for Oct. 9 in Mankato.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)