Rep. Erik Paulsen, the Republican representing Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, is touting himself as a maverick and a moderate in a new ad produced by his reelection campaign.
“When President Donald Trump tried to take away important environmental protections for the Boundary Waters, I said, ‘No way,’” Paulsen says in the ad, which also includes footage of Paulsen camping and canoeing with his family. “I’m for mining, just not there. It’s too special — too important a place.”
The effort to distance himself from the president is a remarkable about-face, and comes just months after Vice President Mike Pence, during a visit to Minneapolis, said Paulsen “has been fighting every day shoulder to shoulder with President Trump.” Moreover, Paulsen’s legislative record continues to indicate that he votes over 97 percent of the time with Trump’s agenda.
And Paulsen is hardly an environmentalist. As City Pages’ Hannah Jones notes in a new piece, Paulsen has voted to “repeal of a rule requiring energy companies to reduce waste and emissions. He also voted to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and to cut $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
The League of Conservation Voters gave Paulsen an abysmal score of 14 percent last year for his continuous shilling for big business and his disregard of the environment.
“Canoeing for the cameras is a cute stunt, but when it comes to actually protecting clean water and public lands, Erik Paulsen is misleading Minnesotans,” says the League of Conservation Voters’ Alyssa Roberts. “How are we supposed to trust Erik Paulsen to keep his word when his votes say otherwise?”
Overall, Paulsen has taken $200,000 from the oil and gas industry.
Paulsen’s DFL challenger, first-time candidate Dean Phillips, said in statement: “Erik Paulsen has taken more special interest money than nearly any other member of Congress, and that buys him nice TV ads. Unfortunately, this is just another misrepresentation of truth from Rep. Paulsen – who has consistently voted against environmental protections during his 30 year political career. To understand why, you just have to follow the money. I believe voters will see through this election year posturing and vote this November for someone who is not beholden to special interests or party leadership.”