Like something straight out of the fantasies of a black helicopter conspiracy theorist, one of the latest ads in the Montana Senate race comes with a big twist.
Launched last week with a $500,000 buy from an environmental group, the ad is meant to attack Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg for supporting an expansion of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s authority over federal land in border areas. It portrays a man using a hunting rifle to shoot out what is supposed to be a department surveillance camera tracking him and his son in the forest — as shown from the perspective of the camera.
But the real surprise comes at the end of the 30-second spot when it reveals which candidate the group supports: not Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, but the Libertarian nominee Dan Cox.
The ad was paid for by the Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund. The Missoulian reports that the group was financed earlier this year by the League of Conservation Voters, which has raised money for Tester.
Rehberg campaign manager Erik Iverson told the paper: “It’s remarkable that, with a little over a week to go before Election Day, that Jon Tester’s supporters have basically thrown in the towel to get more Montanans to vote for Tester, and they’re now trying to get people to vote for the Libertarian instead of Denny Rehberg.”
For his part, Cox said he “loved” the commercial: “I couldn’t have put together a better commercial against Rehberg on my behalf.”
The spot shows a father and son out camping, with the surveillance camera peering down on them. The announcer says: “Congressman Dennis Rehberg would let the Department of Homeland Security monitor and control access on public lands — millions of acres.”
The son spots the camera, and points it. Then the father angrily grabs his hunting rifle, aims right into the camera view, and shoots it out.
“That may look good in Washington, but in Montana, not by a long shot,” the announcer says. As the camera view goes out, it is replaced by on-screen text: “Vote Cox. The Real Conservative.”
The PollTracker Average shows Tester narrowly ahead of Rehberg, 47.6 percent to 45.5 percent.
Watch the whole ad: