Richard Painter, a former White House ethics attorney under President George W. Bush who is running for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota as a Democrat, released his first campaign ad on Sunday night. It shows him standing in front of a dumpster engulfed in flames.
Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, has become one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics.
“Some people see a dumpster fire and do nothing but watch the spectacle,” Painter says in the ad. “Some are too scared to face the danger, or they think it will benefit them if they just let it keep on burning. Others shrug and say, ’All this talk of a dumpster fire is fake news.’”
“There is an inferno raging in Washington,” he says. “But here in the land of 10,000 lakes, we know how to put out a fire.”
A wall of water extinguishes the blaze as the Painter campaign logo appears, superimposed, over his left shoulder.
Painter, who served as White House chief ethics counsel from 2005 to 2007, is running a primary campaign against Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, the state’s former lieutenant governor who was appointed to Sen. Al Franken’s seat after he resigned early this year amid sexual misconduct allegations. Smith is running in a special election to fill out Franken’s term. The primary will be Aug. 14.
And it figures to be an uphill battle for Painter. At the Minnesota Democratic convention earlier this month, Smith received 74 percent support on the first ballot, compared with Painter’s 17 percent.
“Today’s Republican voters are just not receptive to my views on a lot of issues,” Painter recently told Huff Post. But he said he didn’t want to run as an independent, which “almost certainly would have handed the Senate seat to the pro-Trump Republican.”
GOP state Sen. Karin Housley is the frontrunner on the Republican side. Jerry Trooien, a controversial real estate developer, is running as an independent.
Trooien also referenced Trump in his campaign launch.
“While I believe America is still great, like so many of you, I am troubled by our politics,” Trooien said.
Read more from Yahoo News: