SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- The race for Iowa Senate District 1 has taken a new twist. Friday afternoon, Republican candidate Rick Bertrand filed a lawsuit against his rival, Democrat Rick Mullin, over a television ad that's currently running.
The ad named in the lawsuit, filed in Woodbury County Court, alleges Rick Mullin is being attacked by Rick Bertrand. The 30-second spot doesn't divulge specifics, but it quickly goes on the attack.
"Bertrand doesn't want you to know he put his profits ahead of children's health. Bertrand was a sales agent for a big drug company that was rated the most unethical company in the world," part of the ad stated.
The ad goes on to say that the company Bertrand allegedly worked for, was singled out by the Food and Drug Administration for marketing dangerous sleep drugs for children.
The statements in the ad cite an October 2007 article from "The Age," an Australian newspaper.
KTIV located the article on The Age's website. It identifies the company as Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and the drug as "Rozerem," but it never mentions Rick Bertrand or any specific person from the company.
In court filings, Bertrand says he never sold, marketed, or profited from the drug in question. Bertrand says Mullin published false, malicious, and defamatory statements in hopes of furthering his campaign. Bertrand is requesting an expedited hearing for a temporary injunction, to stop the Mullin campaign from running the ad, while the case is pending.
Rick Bertrand released a statement Friday afternoon: "I took this action because it's time someone stood up and said 'enough is enough' and this type of unfounded and untruthful character assassination for political gain must be stopped. This garbage is exactly why people don't run for public office."
The lawsuit states the ad is paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party, and approved by Rick Mullin. Sam Roecker, of the Iowa Democratic Party says the party stands behind the ad, and says everything in it is factual.
Watch KTIV News Channel Four at Six to see the ad at the center of the controversy.