Original article was posted on Politico by Nick Gass.
It’s only April, but already voters across the country have seen their share of unusual campaign videos. From Iowa to Ohio to Louisiana, incumbents and challengers are doing their best to grab potential voters’ eyeballs, if not their votes in November. Here are 10 of the most unusual and notable campaign videos of 2014 so far:
1. Joni Ernst’s “Squeal”
The Republican Senate candidate in Iowa released a spot titled “Squeal” in March that referenced her farming background in an unusual way. The spot, which The Blaze called “bizarre,” drew strong praise from former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
2. John Boehner’s “electile dysfunction”
The speaker’s primary tea party challenger J.D. Winteregg has a new one-minute ad titled “When the Moment Is Right,” mocking the lawmaker’s name, tan and smoking habits while also parodying Cialis and Viagra.
3. Matt Miller’s pile of books
California Democrat Matt Miller, who’s running to replace Rep. Henry Waxman, released a campaign ad featuring photos of his work with the Clinton administration, a California radio station and spending time with his family. In the ad, he’s handed a stack of books about “how to fix our economy, lift schools and boost wages.” Here’s the issue: The stack of a dozen or so tomes is really just several copies of the only two books he has written. “It was for fun. It’s clear in everything, in my bio, and everything else that I’ve written two books,” Miller told Business Insider.
4. Will Brooke shoots and shreds Obamacare
The Alabama congressional candidate in the 6th District made waves late last month with an ad featuring him shooting various firearms at a gigantic printed version of the Affordable Care Act. After taking quite a few shots at the president’s signature legislation, the candidate looks to the camera and decides to use something a little more powerful to tear it apart. “Looks like we’ll have to resort to more extreme measures to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a market based solution,” he says, before shoving the law into a wood chipper.
5. Kesha Rogers’ unconventional Democratic campaign
The Democratic Senate hopeful in Texas stands out from the rest of her party because, well, she wants to impeach President Barack Obama for overseas drone strikes that killed Americans in Yemen. In her first campaign ad of 2014, she pledges to “restore the FDR-JFK tradition,” and features an audio snippet of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1936 second New Deal speech against photo stills of Obama. The party wants nothing to do with her. Rogers, who is a staunch follower of political activist Lyndon LaRouche, has campaigned for office with a poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache.
Again in Iowa, a candidate makes a lighthearted reference to castration. In the spot, called “#GotBalls? Vote for Bob Quast,” the Senate challenger references the 1999 murder of his sister at the hands of her husband, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was released after 12 years in 2011. Quast, whose campaign is based around gun rights, energy and term limits, uses his video to attack Democrat Bruce Braley for his position on guns and to issue a rather personal threat. “If you are the sexual predator and sociopath who murdered my sister Lynnette and you come to my front door to do harm to my girls, I’m going to use my Glock. To blow your balls off,” he says.
7. “Won’t you come home, Thad Cochran?”
In Mississippi, tea party challenger Chris McDaniel received grass-roots support from a singing group called The Boomers, featuring conservative voters from DeSoto County, Miss. Set to the tune of the standard “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey,” its song implores incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran to “come home.”
8.Mary Landrieu’s faux hearing
The Democratic senator from Louisiana came under fire recently for an ad featuring a reenactment of an energy hearing that purports to be the real thing. The incumbent’s commercial touts her independence from the president on oil and gas. “Maybe Mary Landrieu is training for a post Senate career in Hollywood,” Republican strategist Brad Dayspring snarked on Twitter. As supporters have pointed out, using actual footage would be a violation of Senate rules.
9. Dwayne Stovall’s “Turtle Soup”
John Cornyn’s primary challenger sits in the back of a pickup truck, shotgun propped against the liftgate, as he pets his dog, which — apparently — can talk (not really). Instead of focusing his entire wrath on his Texas opponent, Stovall sets his sights on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose photo appears next to a cartoon turtle onscreen. The camera also focuses on his dog, as a voiceover says “I like turtle soup.” The commercial ends with an apparent reference to NBC’s “The More You Know” public service announcement and Stovall’s laughter.
Speaking of Mitch McConnell, no list of notable 2014 campaign ads would be complete without the minority leader’s two-and-a-half minute spot that launched a million hashtags. The video released in March doesn’t have any voiceover or graphics (save for a campaign logo at the end). It’s just footage of the Kentuckian smiling at his desk, smiling with wife Elaine Chao and going about his business as the Bluegrass State’s senior senator. After the spot’s release, Daily Show host Jon Stewartinvited viewers to pair McConnell’s video with a variety of different soundtracks and share them on Twitter using the hashtag #McConnelling.
Bonus: The RNC hipster
Not quite a campaign video, the Republican National Committee in March debuted a new campaign aimed at millennials. The YouTube videos feature a guy named Scott Greenberg, clad in a leather jacket and trendy glasses, talking about his paycheck and gas prices. In the latter spot, Greenberg proclaims himself for “all of the above” energy options. Comedian John Oliver’s new HBO show, which doesn’t premiere until April 27, released its own parodies of the spot, titled “Hashtag Awesomesauce” and “Whatevs.”