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Slap shots: U.S. Senate ad season starts

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Ready for political ad season?

Too bad – it's starting. The first TV ads in the 2014 Minnesota U.S. Senate race hit the air on Wednesday. DFL Sen. Al Franken's Republican challenger, businessman Mike McFadden, uses a hockey metaphor to take a few slap shots at the incumbent on spending, higher taxes and Obamacare (above).

"I'm Mike McFadden, and I approved this message, because we need someone who is going to shoot straight in Washington," says McFadden, skating up to the camera and demonstrating his best hockey stop.

The spot is misleading on one point when it says Franken voted to “exempt Congress" from Obamacare. That's not true, and the Washsington Post Fact Checker and Politifact have taken issue with similar ads.

MPR News reports that McFadden's initial ad buy is relatively small, $9,800 on Twin Cities cable stations, although the campaign intends to make more buys soon.

Minnesota Republicans have not yet endorsed a candidate to challenge Franken. McFadden has the biggest war chest of the GOP candidates aiming to challenge the senator in the November election, with $1.8 million, having raised $600,000 in the first three months of this year.

Franken has $5.9 million in the bank, having raised $2.7 million in the first quarter. MPR reported Franken’s campaign has been aggressively courting donors online.

Franken is planning another fundraiser in Los Angeles next week, with “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler as the draw. Poehler and Franken are both "Saturday Night Live" alums.

One recent poll found Franken's approval rating was at 46 percent.

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