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Nader Signs on With New Admaker

July 12, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The man whose irreverent advertising helped elect Gov. Jesse Ventura is signing on with Ralph Nader, the consumer activist-turned-presidential candidate.

William Hillsman created a series of offbeat, funny and ultimately successful ads for Ventura, although it was unclear whether Nader will have enough money to follow the Minnesota governor.

Nader, the Green Party candidate, is not considered a serious threat for the White House, but could help determine the November outcome. National polls show him with about 6 percent support, slightly more in some battleground states. Most of that appears to come at the expense of Vice President Al Gore, the soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee.

Nader and Hillsman plan to formally announce Hillsman’s role Wednesday, said John Blackshaw, president of Hillsman’s Minneapolis-based company, North Woods Advertising.

Blackshaw cautioned that ads for Nader will not necessarily feature the longtime consumer advocate rapping a tune or portrayed as an action figure battling Evil Special Interest Man, as Minnesota voters saw during Ventura’s campaign.

``I don’t think anybody should expect they’re going to be like Ventura’s last ads,″ he said.

Hillsman also created the funny TV ads credited with helping liberal Minnesota Democrat Paul Wellstone win a Senate seat in 1990. In those spots, Wellstone frantically ran around explaining, ``I don’t have $6 million, so I’m gonna have to talk fast.″

Hillsman’s company is also handling a pair of Senate races _ for Mike Ciresi, a Minnesota Democrat, and Willie Logan, an independent in Florida.

Blackshaw said he didn’t know what the advertising budget would be, but offered: ``It ain’t going to be as much as (George W.) Bush and Gore.″

The Democratic and Republican candidates each get $67.6 million in taxpayer money to run their fall campaigns. The Reform Party candidate will receive $12.6 million, based on the party’s performance in the 1996 election.

So far, Nader’s campaign has received about $100,000 in federal money.

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