Watch CBS News

Reality Check: Erik Paulsen & Donald Trump

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The ad wars are ramping up in Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District. National Democrats are running a tough new TV ad linking Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen to Donald Trump.

But is it true? Pat Kessler looked into the ad's claims for a Reality Check.

Democrats link Congressman Paulsen to Donald Trump in an ad that highlights Trump's most controversial comments.

"The presidential candidate has a long history of racism and discrimination, degrades women, and mocks the disabled," the ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) says. "And Paulsen says, 'I'm going to vote, and have said I plan on voting, for the nominee.'"

Those Paulsen comments were on WCCO-TV on May 22, when Trump was the presumptive nominee. Here's the full quote:

"I'm going to vote for, and I said I plan to vote for, the nominee coming out of the convention," Paulsen said.

Here's the problem: By August, Paulsen refused to say if he'll vote for Trump.

"Donald Trump has not earned my vote," Paulsen said at a 3rd District Congressional debate on Aug. 17. "The candidate that I endorsed is not on the ballot this fall, and that's disappointing."

Paulsen supported Florida Senator Marco Rubio for President, and Rubio says he'll support Trump, but Paulsen won't even confirm he'll vote Republican.

"Who are you going to vote for for president?" a reporter asked Paulsen recently.

"Whoever earns my vote," Paulsen responded. "The candidate I endorsed is not going to be on the ballot."

"So it might not be a Republican?" the reporter asked

"The candidate I endorsed is not on the ballot," Paulsen said.

So when the DCCC ad says, "What does it say that Erik Paulsen supports Donald Trump?" that's false, but not completely. Paulsen once said he'll support the Republican nominee, before it was Trump. Now, he won't say.

For that reason, the DCCC ad is misleading because it lacks context.

The 3rd Congressional District is considered a possible "swing" district this year that could be won by either party. Congressman Paulsen is running against Democratic State Senator Terri Bonoff.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.