Jeff Barth would be proud.
The Democratic candidate for Congress gained a lot of attention — but not that many votes — with a compelling, bizarre and memorable campaign video that “went viral” this spring.
Now, the Democrat who defeated him in a landslide in the June primary, Matt Varilek, is using a video intended to attack him, made by the South Dakota Republican Party, as a weapon. Varilek aims to mock his opponent, Rep. Kristi Noem, for trying to use this against him. It too has “gone viral,” which despite its ominous sound is a very good thing indeed for videos.
The GOP video, which runs more than 2 minutes, paints Varilek as a guy who studied overseas, speaks at UN gatherings and — horrors! — drinks beer and eats corn dogs! Those last two caught people’s ear, and the video was posted by several liberal websites, who also pointed out that it seemed as if Noem and her backers were condemning Varilek for seeking a quality education.
As he noted in a stop at our office, he did attend school in Scotland and England, but in part on a Rotary scholarship. Varilek said it’s almost comical that he is being painted as an outsider when he was just a South Dakota guy trying to get a good education.
The video, which both Varilek and Noem are urging people to watch, is getting media attention in South Dakota and across the nation. The AP did a story on it Monday.
Not to be topped, Noem’s campaign just released a new Halloween-themed video that seeks to mock Varilek while also painting him as a tax-and-spend liberal.
“Matt Varilek’s entire campaign has been a trick on South Dakota families and a treat for Washington liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama,” said Tom Erickson, Noem’s campaign manager. “On the campaign trail, Matt Varilek repeats false attacks and wild exaggerations instead of talking about how he supports the Obama-Pelosi agenda that would tax small businesses and middle class families as well as rob Medicare to pay for ObamaCare.”
It’s all pretty silly, but it has caught some people’s ears and eyes. I still think the best, and funniest, one of the bunch is Barth’s, and despite it he finished a poor second in the Democratic Party June primary.
Maybe if he had added a corn dog or two …