Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Is Tim Pawlenty Running for a 3rd Term?

Bookmark and Share

DFL gubernatorial candidate TV ads target outgoing governor eight times more than attacks on GOP endorsee Tom Emmer

This is the second in a series of Smart Politics reports on campaign advertising in the 2010 Minnesota gubernatorial election. The first report examined DFL candidate face time in TV ads.

Although it has been more than 13 months since Republican Tim Pawlenty announced he would not seek a third term as Governor of Minnesota, one would not know it from watching the television ad campaigns from the three leading DFL candidates heading into August's primary.

A Smart Politics content analysis of more than a dozen DFL candidate television ads run by Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton, and Matt Entenza finds that the trio has collectively spent 16.2 percent of their airtime attacking Governor Pawlenty, just 1.9 percent criticizing GOP endorsee Tom Emmer, and not a single frame attacking one another.

Overall, the DFLers have spent 19.5 percent of their airtime attacking Republicans at the state or national level, compared to 29.8 percent of the ads focusing on their goals if elected governor of the Gopher State.

Each of the three candidates has targeted Governor Pawlenty in their ads, but none more so than Anderson Kelliher.

The House Speaker has spent 34 seconds in her two half-minute spots attacking Pawlenty and his policies, or 56.7 percent of the ads.

In her debut ad, "Minnesota Story," Anderson Kelliher takes six seconds to mention her past battles with the Governor: "And that's why as Speaker I fought Governor Pawlenty and corporate special interests to protect families like yours and mine."

Her attack on Pawlenty is more specific and pronounced in her follow-up ad ("Serve") in which she narrates: "For the past eight years, the Governor has been serving corporate special interests and his own political ambition. I took on Governor Pawlenty and won - leading the fight to fix our bridges and stop cuts to health care and schools."

In that ad, in which actors ride up to the drive-thru at "Pawlenty's" restaurant and are unable to order good schools and jobs, the House Speaker also takes a subtle jab at Republicans in Congress. On the menu at Pawlenty's, in addition to items such as a "Budget Busting Burrito" and a "Tax Break Sandwich for the wealthy" are "Freedom Fries."

Despite criticizing the Governor for 34 seconds in her two ads, Anderson Kelliher spends just three seconds mentioning any of her gubernatorial priorities moving forward (5.0 percent). The ads include just one vague mention about jobs: "You can go to my website to learn how we put Minnesota back to work."

Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton is also not shy in his criticism of the Governor - mentioning Pawlenty by name in four of his five ads to date.

In total, Dayton criticizes Pawlenty for 29 seconds in his three minutes of TV ads (16.1 percent).

However, unlike Anderson Kelliher, Dayton does not get his own hands dirty in these attacks, utilizing a voice-over artist in each instance.

In his debut ad ("9,000 Miles"), the Dayton campaign makes a general attack against the Governor: "It's the courage we need to repair the damage Tim Pawlenty has done."

In his third ad ("Fair Share"), a voice-over artist is more targeted in the Pawlenty strikes: "Tim Pawlenty has protected tax loopholes for the richest Minnesotans, while cutting education funding for our children. Mark Dayton says it's wrong."

Similarly, the Governor is criticized in Dayton's fourth ad ("Forged"): "Tim Pawlenty has cut education funding in Minnesota. Classrooms are overcrowded. Districts have gone to four-day school weeks. Mark Dayton says it's wrong."

In his most recent spot on senior citizens ("So Much"), the Dayton campaign claims: "Tim Pawlenty's cuts have hurt our seniors. Rising property taxes are driving them out of their homes...Our seniors have done so much for us. Isn't it time for a governor who did more for them?"

But although Dayton shares Anderson Kelliher's enthusiasm for attacking Tim Pawlenty, his ads do outline his actual goals if elected governor, for a total of 62 seconds or 34.4 percent of his ads.

Dayton outlines specific goals in four of his five ads, including his plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Minnesotans, increase funding for K-12 and higher education, champion clean energy, and create jobs through transportation projects.

While Matt Entenza only briefly attacks Governor Pawlenty in one of his six television ads ("New Direction"), he is also the only DFLer to mention Tom Emmer by name.

In an effort likely designed to energize and expand his base heading into next month's primary, Entenza manages to tie together four polarizing Republican figures during the first 15 seconds of the attack ad - Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, Tim Pawlenty, and Tom Emmer:

"Meet Sarah Palin's candidate for Governor, Tom Emmer. Endorsed by Palin, a Bush Republican who will double down on failed Pawlenty policies. Devastating 30 percent budget cuts. Education under threat. Emmer's more of the same."

While Dayton and Anderson Kelliher have exclusively targeted Pawlenty as the object that they specifically attack by name, Entenza has roamed more freely.

In his energy ad "Clean Up," the Entenza campaign states over images of the oil spill in the gulf: "We've watched in horror. Raged at BP. Felt the pain of all that's been lost."

In his ad "Disappearing," Entenza takes a very harsh shot at the State of Mississippi - which is governed by a Republican, Haley Barbour: "If budget cuts were always the answer, then Mississippi would be a leader in this country."

Barbour is also the Chairman of the Republican Governor's Association.

Overall, Entenza criticizes Republicans for 24 seconds of his three minutes of ads (13.3 percent). The former Representative also spends 61 seconds of his three minutes of ads discussing substantive policy goals of his campaign (33.9 percent) - with a particular focus on education (ending No Child Left Behind and increasing funding), as well as clean energy, the economy, and halting budget cuts.

Notably absent from any of the thirteen ads under analysis are attacks against any fellow DFLer running in next month's primary. Perhaps there is a tacit agreement among the three camps to keep the gloves on in order to more easily unify around a candidate after August 10th.

In the meantime, the DFL candidates seem to be content in utilizing the same communication strategy to rally supporters - attacking Governor Pawlenty and largely ignoring Republican Tom Emmer, who hopes to extend the Gopher State's third longest Democratic gubernatorial drought in the nation.

But while the anti-Pawlenty tactics may be in vogue as a DFL primary strategy, it is unlikely to win DFLers an election in November, as the Governor has largely maintained 50+ percent approval ratings throughout the last year.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Face Time: DFL Gubernatorial Candidate Communication Strategies in TV Ads
Next post: A Profile of the Tea Party Caucus

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting