The Minnesota DFL Party launched a new ad campaign this week targeting key Republican state senators who are accused of “standing in the way of passing real police reform.”
Jason Lewis, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said in a recent interview that Democrats don’t “want reform” so much as they “want a political issue.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) made similar comments after Democrats blocked his police reform bill from being put up for further debate.
At the state level, House Democrats and Senate Republicans failed to reach an agreement on police reform legislation during the Minnesota Legislature’s June special session. Democratic leaders backed away from some of their demands that Republicans opposed, including having the state attorney general prosecute all police-involved deaths and restoring voting rights for felons. But they insisted that Republican senators needed to support other major pieces, including banning “warrior-style” training for police, allowing cities to impose residency requirements on officers and creating a state community-led public safety office.
The DFL Party is now targeting eight Republican state senators in a digital ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram. The ads accuse Republicans of “blocking real police reform,” and encourage constituents to call and write their senators.
“No matter how hard they try, Senate Republicans cannot keep ignoring the demands for real police reform coming from their constituents,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a press release announcing the new ads. “The DFL Party is committed to lifting up the voices of Minnesotans calling for change, and that’s exactly what our new ad campaign does.”
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said negotiations on police reform fell apart because of “behind the scenes arm-twisting” from Gov. Tim Walz. The governor has called another special session for next week so that he can extend his emergency powers, and lawmakers will likely resume talks on police reform when they return to St. Paul.
“Minnesotans will be watching next week’s special session closely,” Martin added. “If Senate Republicans walk away from their jobs without getting anything done yet again, they should not expect to keep them.”
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