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Al Franken’s first 2014 campaign TV ad debuts

The meat-and-potatoes ad links jobs to education and features an employer from Michele Bachmann’s district.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken is up with his first re-election ad, entitled “3.5 Million Jobs.” It references the so-called “skills gap” in which higher-skilled employers can’t find qualified employees. The ad features Elizabeth Abraham, owner of Blaine’s Top Tool.

The ad is straightforward, betraying none of the cleverness Franken has downplayed in the Senate, and isn’t humorous and personal in the style of GOP challenger Mike McFadden’s intro ads. If nothing else, the ad — which ties jobs to education — signals a meat-and-potatoes campaign from Franken, who faces presidential off-year headwinds from the botched ObamaCare rollout and a tepid middle-class recovery.

The ad is also interesting for featuring an employer from Michele Bachmann’s 6th district, beyond Franken’s traditional Democratic base, but home to many blue-collar workers, employed or not.