I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of Jim the Election Guy. I was baffled by that ad strategy from the first time I saw him appear in Michele Bachmann's first ad of the election season. I mean, what type of credentials does it take to become an election guy? Frankly, it sounds like one of those programs where you can print your degree and license right off the internet.
Thanks to MinnPost's Derek Wallbank, we now know exactly what type of credentials you need in order for Michele Bachmann to knight you "the Election Guy." Because who would know better about Minnesota elections and the needs of the 6th district than an actor from Maryland now living in California?
I found a video of one item on Beau Peregino's acting resume. Check out this episode of "A Haunting." Recognize that stranger with a wide stance who enters the picture at about 5:40? Yep, that's our 6th district election expert.
Michele Bachmann's camp has been quick to defend the use of the actor stating that who he is isn't important but rather his message. But Bachmann's camp should have bigger concerns. It's true that in the state of Minnesota for a candidate to use a paid actor in his/her commericals is rare. (The last instance I can think of offhand would likely be Mark Kennedy. He lost that race to Sen. Amy Klobuchar.) However, what is even more rare is for a candidate to use an actor who does not live in Minnesota and has no known ties to our state. The reason that should concern the Bachmann campaign is because one of the most frequent attacks on her is that she is out of touch with her district and prefers to spend her time on a national stage courting Fox News and the Tea Party rather than more frequently be seen around the 6th district. This only reinforces that argument.
It looks like Tarryl Clark hit the nail on the head when she assumed that this "Jim" was likely an actor without ties to the district. Her "Real Jim" ads have proved to be one of my favorite political responses of the season:
Minnesotans don't take kindly to outsiders telling us what to do. If you consider us to be "fly over country" we don't believe that you know what is best for our state. We like to hear real stories from real people about the people seeking to represent us. This is reflected in the latest ad from Tim Walz, Tom Emmer's first ad, and the ads Amy Klobuchar ran during her Senate campaign. It's a strategy that is generally well received in a state where we still expect to know our neighbors and help one another out.
I'm curious to see if the "Jim the Election Guy" ads keep coming or if Bachmann will seek out a new strategy. I'm wondering if this ad choice will backfire at all. The question is, does she think that she is politically invincible enough to further the perception of being so far out of touch with her district and still think a win is in the bag? The even bigger question is, will the voters of the 6th district continue to be willing to reelect someone who seems to keep putting her national agenda ahead of their local one?