An incumbent Republican congressman mocked his Democratic opponent as “manufactured” in a campaign video released Monday. But the video, which shows the congressman acting like he’s canvassing voters in a suburban Minnesota neighborhood, doesn’t appear to have been filmed in the congressman’s actual district.
Instead, Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) apparently filmed it in the suburb he calls home, one district north of the area he represents in Congress.
Lewis’ campaign video, called “A manufactured Craig vs. an honest Lewis,” shows him holding what look to be campaign materials and walking away from the front door of an upscale house, as if he has just spoken to a voter in his district about his reelection campaign. He waves to someone off-camera.
Addressing his online audience, Lewis mocks his Democratic opponent, Angie Craig, for one of her campaign ads. “Anybody can put on a flannel shirt and pretend to be something they’re not,” Lewis says, adding at the end of the video: “While she’s still at the bar, I’ll stay out here being honest with voters.”
But, according to TPM’s analysis following an emailed tip, Lewis couldn’t have been talking to his own voters in the video: Instead, it looks like he was filming in Woodbury, the wealthy St. Paul suburb in which he lives, north of the district he represents in Congress.
“He was walking out of the house, and it had a house number on it,” Deneen Hinrichs, a Lewis constituent who’s voting for Craig, told TPM over the phone Monday. “It was kind of hard to see, but I paused the video, took a picture of it, and zoomed in.”
“The place that I found came up and it looked exactly like the house he was coming out of,” Hinrichs said.
Greg Hansen, an electrician who has volunteered for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota for years, told TPM over the phone Monday that when he saw the video, “I just thought to myself, the irony of an attack on authenticity when you’re door-knocking in your own neighborhood, which is in Rep. [Betty] McCollum’s district, is kind of funny to me.”
“Once somebody matched up the house in the video to an address, we realized that this was just the house right around the corner from his,” Hansen added.
Compare the screenshots from Lewis’ video, below…
…to a screenshot from Google Maps of the same house in Woodbury. It’s just north of Lewis’ district.
Compare Lewis’ video of the neighboring house, left, to Google Maps, right:
The houses across the street look pretty similar as well: