Clearly, Stuart Mills intends to make the Second Amendment a major battleground in his campaign to unseat Congressman Rick Nolan. It's clear that he thinks he's got the upper hand in this fight by the way he mocks Nolan. Here's what Mills said in his latest ad:
I'm Stuart Mills and I'm a lifelong hunter. But the Second Amendment isn't just about recreation. First and foremost, it's about protecting our liberties. Far too many politicians in Washington have no respect for the Second Amendment. Rick Nolan is one of them. Around election time, Rick will put on his hunter's orange and grab a rifle but in Washington, he's repeatedly voted to take away your rights. I'm Stuart Mills. I approve this message because I'll protect the Second Amendment always.
This ad has the potential to hurt Nolan because it ties into two narratives about him. First, the ad hints that "Rick" will say or do anything to get a vote. That isn't a flattering image, to say the least. Second, it highlights Nolan's voting record vs. his rhetoric.
The Democrats' definition of dirty campaigning is using a Democrats' words against himself. Most people just think it's a way to highlight a politician's hypocrisy. Most people are right.
Mills' mockery of Nolan comes when he said "Around election time, Rick will put on his hunter's orange and grab a rifle." For years, Democrats with a bad NRA rating would say that they love hunting, then profess their love of the Second Amendment.
That used to work before Al Gore invented the internet, which was years before YouTube was created. Tom Daschle was defeated by John Thune because Thune played ads comparing Washington Tom Daschle's words with South Dakota Tom Daschle's words.
When Mills highlights Nolan's NRA rating, it's having the same effect as comparing Daschle's words against each other.
Thus far, the Mills-Nolan race is shaping up as the race to watch in Minnesota, with the Torrey Westrom vs. Collin Peterson race being the other interesting race to watch.