Vickerman defends against new political attack ads
ST. PAUL -- One day before the start of the 2006 legislative session, Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage (MCDM) announced an advertising campaign directed against District 22 Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, and 11 other state senators.
In a press release Tuesday, MCDM called Vickerman, Majority Leader Dean Johnson of Willmar, Brainerd Republican Paul Koering, and DFLers LeRoy Stumpf of Plumber, Tom Saxhaug of Grand Rapids, Keith Langseth of Glyndon, Dallas Sams of Staples, Dan Sparks of Austin, Steve Murphy of Red Wing, Sheila Kiscaden of Rochester, Leo Foley of Coon Rapids and Don Betzold of Fridley "the most out of touch with their constituents on the marriage issue."
"Polls suggest the vast majority of constituents in Senator Vickerman's district believe they should have the right to vote on the marriage amendment," said Jeff Davis, MCDM president. "However, Sen. Vickerman's repeated failure to support the bill is denying his constituents this opportunity. In essence, Sen. Vickerman is paving the way for gay marriage to be forced upon the citizens of this state."
In an interview with the Daily Globe on Monday, Vickerman confirmed his support of a full Senate vote on a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. On Tuesday, in response to the MCDM statement, he reacted angrily.
"I've been for this since Day One. And I've had to fight against my caucus," he said.
Vickerman said when the bill was brought up on the Senate floor last year, without his prior knowledge, he was engaged in a tour of newspapers in his district. On other occasions last year, he said, he clearly stated his support of the amendment to groups supporting it.
"I told all of them I was going to vote for the bill," he said Tuesday.
He has also sent out many letters in support of the amendment in response to constituent inquiries, Vickerman said.
Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage announced that radio spots will be aired in each senator's district, followed by a series of newspaper and direct mail advertisements. A Web site is available to score each senator's voting record on the marriage issue at www.GANGof12.com, MCDM said.
On Tuesday, Vickerman said it is ironic that "dirty politics" occur on the verge of the new 2006 session.
"I've put my best foot forward to work with the Republicans and to have a nice, productive session. And then they blast me. How am I supposed to respond to that?" Vickerman said, adding that he directs his frustration at special interest groups and not fellow legislators. "I'm still going to say we need to work together. I don't know what my own caucus will say."