Rauschenberger has repeatedly been out of state seeking treatment since SayAnythingBlog.com broke the news about his struggles with alcohol addiction. Immediately after that announcement Democrats treated the issue of his alcohol issues with kid gloves.
Well, no more. Astrup has taken to the airwaves with an ad suggesting Rauschenberger is too “impaired” to be trusted handling the confidential tax records of North Dakotans.
“Our tax commissioner hid his addiction and has been away from the office for too long,” Astrup says in the ad, backed by the traditional doom-and-gloom music of attack ads. “By his own admission my opponent has been impaired. We simply cannot trust a tax commissioner who is impaired with access to your financial records.”
That’s a pretty nasty ad, especially coming as it does after Democrats made multiple public statements supporting Rauschenberger’s decision to seek treatment.
Will it work? Can Astrup get traction against Rauschenberger?
Maybe. Rauschenberger has been gone from the campaign trail for weeks now. If he continues to leave a vacuum that Astrup can fill with attacks on his alcoholism, voters may wonder why they should vote for someone who isn’t around to make a rebuttal.
Of course, Rauschenberger’s problems haven’t exactly translated into an influx of support for Astrup whose campaign has only taken in $40,403.02 as of the pre-general report to the Secretary of State, about half of what Rauschenberger posted.