Sioux Falls, SD
A television ad against South Dakota democratic Public Utilities Commission candidate Matt McGovern was pulled from the airwaves Thursday after McGovern’s camp proved it wasn’t entirely accurate.
The ad was paid for by the state's Republican Party. Lawyers for McGovern’s campaign alleged it wasn’t true and KELO-TV pulled the ad hours later following an investigation.
Republicans say the negative ad was a response to a negative turn taken by Matt McGovern during the PUC race.
“Really what we're trying to focus on is who he worked for and what he did for a living because his ads tend to gloss over that,” South Dakota Republican Chairman Tony Post said.
KELOLAND Television received a cease and desist letter Thursday from McGovern’s campaign alleging the ad wasn't true because he was not born in Wisconsin as republicans claimed.
According to the station's policy, General Manager Jay Huizenga says the ad stayed on air during the investigation.
“If they can prove that it is accurate and just a matter of opinion, then we leave the spot on. In this particular case, the South Dakota Republican Party couldn't provide information McGovern was born in Wisconsin. So we pulled the spot,” Huizenga said.
“We have a birth record of a Matt Rowen in Wisconsin, so it was an honest mistake, but we will fix it. He was born in D.C,” Post said.
Post says McGovern’s name is what caused the confusion. He was born as Matthew David Rowen. Early in his life his parents changed it to McGovern-Rowen. The candidate and grandson of the late Senator George McGovern officially changed his last name to McGovern five years ago. The ad points that out too.
McGovern's campaign acknowledged the name change and also released a statement by email to us Thursday night saying:
...I wasn't born in Wisconsin and I also wasn't born yesterday. I know that allowing the utility companies to hike rates on South Dakota families is the wrong thing to do. As Public Utilities Commissioner, I'll fight any rate hike that forces South Dakota families and businesses to pay more so that some over-paid CEO can avoid standing in line at the airport.
The state Republicans had already corrected the date they say McGovern moved to South Dakota before KELOLAND Television pulled the ad over his birthplace. They say another corrected version should be back on the air by Friday afternoon.
Republicans also plan to rebuke a negative ad they say unfairly attacks their PUC candidate, Kristie Fiegen.