A spokeswoman for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows says the campaign made “a mistake” when it included stock footage in an online advertisement about the candidate’s support for working class people.
The ad has since been taken down, and replaced with a new one featuring workers from Maine. (The workers, by the way, are Toby Johnston of Bowdoinham and Jim Mayo of Wesbrook — both are members of LIUNA Local 327 in Augusta.)
Abigail Collazo, a Bellows staffer, said the inclusion of the stock footage — which came from Getty Image’s iStock service — was never meant to make the video’s final cut.
“We had intended to use the Mainers footage,” she said. “If we had used it intentionally, we wouldn’t have changed it.”
Collazo said the oversight was a result of the intense focus on Bellows’ ongoing walk from Houlton to Kittery. The ad was released online Friday, and Bellows’ walking campaign began Saturday.
Still, Republicans over the weekend and on Monday criticized Bellows, first for using the stock footage, then again when she removed it.
“It speaks to the sincerity and the authenticity in the ad. If you really care about the people of Maine, you go out and film those people, who you’re seeking to represent,” said Maine GOP spokesman David Sorensen. “It indicates you don’t care as much about the authenticity of the ad, and you’re willing to take the shortcut.”
Lost in all this is the message of the ad, in which Bellows said Congress must increase the minimum wage and beef up social security benefits. Collazo pointed out that those two initiatives have been opposed by Bellows’ Republican opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
Here’s the ad as it stands today: