Minnesota Republican Mike McFadden is facing an uphill battle to defeat incumbent Democratic Senator Al Franken in November. So, in his first broadcast television ad, he does what people seeking attention have done for thousands of years: take a punch to the groin.
In the ad, McFadden, an investment banker in Minneapolis, emphasizes his background as a youth football coach while youngsters in football pads provided the voiceover for statements like “Washington is fumbling our future” and “Obamacare needs to be sacked.” It ends with McFadden telling the huddled team of youngters “Let’s go out there and hit somebody.” One of his players then punches him, the camera cuts to laughing youngsters, before returning to the candidate who turns and, in a high-pitched voice, says “I’m Mike McFadden and I approve this message.”
While Tom Erickson, a spokesman for the GOP hopeful, insisted to The Daily Beast that the punch was “above the belt” and that it was “a shot to the gut,” it seems unlikely that such a blow would or would be depicted as causing a man’s voice to climb a few octaves. In fact, the resulting debate, dubbed “Groin Gate” by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, has helped McFadden’s ad get even more attention.
In a campaign cycle where one candidate, Iowa Republican Joni Ernst, has already been catapulted to a win in a Senate primary and national prominence by touting her experience castrating pigs in a campaign ad, it could be the start of a new political trend. After all, if political ads are going to include below-the-belt blows, it might as well be less like traditional negative campaigning and more like America’s Funniest Home Videos.