Cuban Hero Campaign Ad Has Many Talking

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Even though the 2008 election is eleven months away, the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Representative Mark Udall and former Representative Bob Schaffer has many across the Grand Valley talking. A lot of that is due in part to one political ad that is fueling the fire.

If you've been watching TV for the last few weeks, chances are you have probably seen the Cuban Hero ad. It calls U.S. Representative Mark Udall (D) Boulder a Cuban hero for sponsoring a bill that would allow U.S. compaines to explore drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba.

"What they're trying to portray here is the fact that Representative Udall is supporting offshore drilling off the coast of Cuba when we need to be looking at drilling here," said Kent Baughman, a Republican.

The ad claims Udall's fierce stance on protecting the Roan Plateau from drillers contradicts his desire to let American companies drill in Cuban waters. The Udall campaign team says that's not the case, and the area they are looking at is not environmentall sensitive.

"The legislation specifically states the same precautions must take place with American companies exploring these waters as they would if they were exploring in American waters," said Mike Melanson, Udall's Campaign Manager.

They say the ad is nothing more than an attempt by a conservative group to boost support for Udall's opponent Bob Schaffer.

"It's an attack from an anonymously funded, outside group that no one really knows much about," said Melanson.

11 News tried to find out more about Common Sense Issues, the group that made the ad, but didn't have much luck. The group has no contact information on its website, the website is registered to a private user, and a national advertising agency was used to distribute the ad.

"It is very surprising it's happening this early," said Melanson. "It's the only place in the country -- we're the only Senate race where negative attack ads have gone up.

The Udall team isn't the only one surprised by the ad.

"It seems funny that the first ad I was aware of in the campaign was a negative one," said Troy Douglas, a Democrat.

"I'm not a big fan of negative campaigning," said Baughman. "But negative campaigning works."

Udall's team says the negative ad is having the opposite effect on its campaign.

"We're certainly seeing an increase in our fundraising because of these commercials," said Melanson.

Common Sense Issues has created another anti-Udall ad that is circulating around the state, primarily in the Front Range.

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