Unwinding The SPIN: Johnson’s scrappy fighter image is knocked out

PoliticsMN_WEBSITELogoSince Jeff Johnson announced his campaign for governor, Johnson and his supporters have attempted to cultivate an image of Johnson as a fighter. Johnson has referred to himself as a “scrappy fighter” in speeches and his presentation at the 2014 Republican State Convention in Rochester, included a video of a boxer preparing for a fight in a ring.

JeffJohnsonFighterKnockedOutIn the boxing-themed video, titled “Time to Fight. Time to Lead. Time to Win.”, Johnson said “…we are gonna take the fight to Mark Dayton and to his liberal friends.” Between images of the boxer preparing for his fight, Johnson said Minnesota needs “somebody who can take a punch to the face and isn’t afraid to turn around and give every one of those back just as hard as he got ’em.”

But in one punch yesterday, Dayton’s campaign knocked out Johnson’s self-proclaimed “scrappy fighter” image, by his campaign’s non-response to Dayton’s first television advertisement.

Dayton’s TV ad focused on Minnesota’s economy, which Johnson himself has said he believes is strong. But 24 hours after Dayton’s campaign released a very effective television ad, nobody affiliated with Johnson’s campaign or the Republican Party of Minnesota has responded with any substantive push-back to the message of Dayton’s ad. Hours after the ad was released, Johnson’s campaign provided a statement to the Star Tribune, but the rather weak response by the campaign was not widely distributed.

The Republican Party of Minnesota’s “Truth Matters” website, which according to Republicans will “hold Democrats accountable to the truth”, has not been updated in almost three weeks. The Truth Matters’ Twitter account last sent out a tweet 175 days ago. It seems both Johnson and Republicans have forgotten how to fight.

The lack of any substantive response to Dayton’s new TV ad by Johnson’s campaign or officials with the Republican Party of Minnesota should be concerning to Republicans. There was no fighter yesterday responding to the big swing from Dayton’s campaign. Dayton’s ad did not mention Johnson, nor was the ad negative. Based on recent polling, Dayton may never mention Johnson by name in campaign advertisements. But someone who boasted that he engages in “hand-to-hand combat every day” would have swung back, made his candidacy more relevant, and put himself in the fight on the message of Dayton’s ad.

The general election is the title fight Johnson wanted with Dayton. But it appears the only “scrappy fighter” is the actor paid $250.00 by Johnson’s campaign to be the boxer in his video.

Unwinding the SPIN is a section of politics.mn which translates the spin and messaging in Minnesota politics.


  1. Tea Party Potentate says:

    If this election was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, then Jeff Johnson would be Glass Joe and Mark Dayton, cane and all, would be Mike Tyson. Jeff Johnson will do no better than a potted plant would, just like when he ran for AG and got his ass whipped. On election day, Johnson and his glass jaw will go reeling across the mat.

  2. Will Mr. Johnson be the equivalent of Kurt Bills in the Governors race?

  3. I always thought Jeff Johnson did not have any backbone, much less a good left hook. He’s the man Dayton wanted to run against. This is why Norm Coleman, the RINO Rockefeller Republican, telephoned Marty Seifert and told him to not run. I’d suspect it also is why Thompson, who never stood a chance, entered the race: to deny Marty the endorsement in favor of Johnson. Thompson’s concession speech, which was completely written to get Marty to drop out, was way too well rehearsed and far too psychological to have been prepared by the dull Thompson. Looks like the Dayton people totally fooled the delegates and got the candidate of their choice to run against.

    So get ready for another 4 years of Dayton, more government spending, more socialism and communism, and more acceptance of Federal interference in our State’s affairs. You can thank all the Johnson and Thompson delegates for this disaster. They meant well, but they just don’t know how the world works.

  4. Theodore Kamis says:

    I am an independent voter, and I didn’t vote for either Horner, Dayton, or Emmer in 2010. And I wasn’t going to vote in the gubernatorial in 2014, either, as I don’t like either Dayton, Johnson, and Nicollet…

    …but if not voting Republican means being a socialist and communist, No Backbone, then I don’t know where I am politically, and perhaps I should submit to an Arizonan execution, since I don’t like either the Minnesota or national Republican or the Democratic Parties.

    Michael – I would appreciate it if you could compile a list of questions that would help you determine where I fit politically in the United States – because, right now, I would be better off dead than supporting any of the presidential candidates seriously mooted since 1993, including every Democrat AND Republican for the 2016 cycle – and this is my country too! (For the record, the last time I voted for a presidential candidate, rather than voting against everyone else, was for Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Wisconsin primary – I voted Perot in the general in 1992).

    I think it would be interesting if you got a noted Democratic analyst to contribute some questions too, and analyze all the answers as well.

    I will answer all of them in more detail than you want, if you’re up to it – and leave room, please, for me to do some self “ask and answer” questions to fill in the gaps that you will inevitably leave.


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