Tom Emmer lost to every DFL candidate in the latest poll released Tuesday last. The weirdly cheerful response from his team and hangers on: we were within the margin of error. "Laissez les bons temps rouler."
Doubling down on seppuku, the talking points were that with millions (really?) spent on ads, the candidate came out ok. Any port in a storm, apparently. The election season has just begun and there will be millions more dollars spent painting Emmer out to be an angry white guy; someone out of touch with Minnesota. Even the otherwise excellent MN Forward ad ended with Emmer being touted as a fighter. We understand the Emmer campaign had no control over the content of that ad but MC thinks the better word choice would be leader.
Our concern is that nothing has been learned from the town hall debacle over tip-credit. Even the Washington Post has taken notice of a campaign that leaves much to be desired. It rates this race a toss up and speaks about negative beltway buzz over the candidate. Would that buzz be Vin Weber absolving himself of his endorsed candidate?
Tone-deaf is the best word to describe this campaign. It's not too late to save it, despite the daily concerns we hear. A staff shake-up would seem to be in order. "Teachable moments" are not for politics and the idea that one can teach about minimum wage while being gored by your opponents is naive. MC wants Emmer to win but he's going to have to run a different kind of campaign from the one he has shown Minnesota thus far. This requires different staff.
Focusing on jobs, the economy, taxes, the oppressive multi-layered regulations of the state and the need to be competitive with nearby states are not new ideas. They are, however, ideas that can get this campaign back on track and ultimately prove victorious in November.
Our last blog post engendered a great deal of comment. MC took a fair amount of grief for it but even we could not have guessed how badly the server town hall meeting would go. Campaigns can't afford many fiascos like that and it's imperative another one never happens. Our worry is that those around the candidate live in an alternate reality. Do they think they are doing a good job? Really? If so, they should get out more.
Emmer is a charming candidate one-on-one or in small groups. The pity is that he is being portrayed as anything but in the larger arena. The campaign needs to understand and neutralize this. It then needs to go on the offense in defining Emmer and what his governorship would be like. At the moment, it's all defense and reaction.
Governor Dayton would be a calamity for this state. MC hopes once the dust of the August 10th primary has cleared our man Emmer will find renewed focus and determination. He's by far the best choice for Minnesota. He's knows it; we know it. He needs to let the rest of the state know it and he needs to begin now.
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