- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Steve Bullock is airing his first television ad of the 2016 election during NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, his campaign announced Thursday.

Campaign manager Eric Hyers told The Associated Press the 30-second ad will debut during Friday’s opening ceremonies on NBC stations statewide. Hyers declined to release the cost of the ads other than to say the total buy was more than $100,000.

“Our first ad shows what he’s fighting for - quality public schools, good-paying, family-supporting jobs, protecting access to public lands and waters - because that’s what will keep Montana great for future generations,” Hyers said in a statement.

Bullock narrates the ad. While showing images of his family, it also addresses some of the key issues raised during the campaign against Republican Greg Gianforte.

Bullock’s ad begins by noting that he and his wife grew up in Montana, send their children to public schools and hike the same trails and fish the same streams as they did when they were young.

A political action committee that receives its funding from the Democratic Governors Association is running ads that cast Gianforte as a wealthy landowner from out-of-state who filed a lawsuit seeking to eliminate an easement on his property that provided public access to the East Gallatin River.

An attorney for Gianforte sent a letter to Montana television stations last month urging them to stop airing the “false, misleading and deceptive” ad. An attorney for KULR-TV in Billings responded by saying Gianforte spent numerous years in New Jersey before moving to Montana and that he did file the lawsuit. It was settled out of court with trail and fence upgrades.

Gianforte argues the state needs a government outsider like him who has created thousands of high-paying private sector jobs in Montana.

“Career politician Steve Bullock can’t hide from his record of failed leadership,” Gianforte spokesman Ron Catlett said Thursday. “The fact of the matter is that we’re 49th in the country in wages, we have steeply declining revenues and our economy has shrunk for two consecutive quarters. We need new leadership in Helena if Montana is going to get back on the right track.”

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Online: https://youtu.be/N7KXeLQ7tnE

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