The Campaign That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, Part II: From The Ether

This week, we’ve been looking at the DFL-endorsee Brian Barnes and his campaign for the MN Third Congressional District seat held by Erik Paulsen.  Yesterday we noted they bobbled a niggling but, er, Federal regulation on their new batch of lawn signs.

Today?  We’ll get serious.

Earlier this week, the Barnes campaign sent a fundraising email to their mailing list; they just spent a ton of money getting a Minneapolis creative agency to produce a TV ad, and those don’t come cheap.

That’s fine.  Everybody does it.

But here’s where it gets interesting.  The third paragraph in the email says (I’ve added the emphasis):

Every dollar at this point goes toward getting our message to persuadable voters. We have been steadily closing the gap on Congressman Paulsen. We started with voters supporting Barnes 24% and Paulsen 39% in May, and we’ve gained 20 points to his 8! In fact, he is beginning to lose voters since we’ve been successfully showing voters he only talks like Jim Ramstad, but he votes more extreme than Michele Bachmann.

Let’s back that up for a moment; amid the awkward phrasing (are they claiming the race is 47-44 or not?), there are some questions.

What polling?

According to sources familiar with the history of the race, Barnes’ former campaign manager, Tom Beckfield, last month said that there had been no polling in this race.  That’s as of August.  And we know that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Dems’ national campaign organization and warchest, had done no polling in the 3rd CD – or at least they’d not released any into the public domain.  So if Barnes has national polls, they’re illegal.

Beyond that?  The campaign included no polling expenditures in their FEC reports through July.

But the fundraising email claims to have tracked results from May through the present.  Via what polling?

The source notes that the Barnes campaign is doing intermal push-polling.  Are these the results that the email is trumpeting?

Since the campaign reports no polling expenses, and the DCCC hasn’t done it, what else could it be?

If you see Brian Barnes, ask him if you could.

(There are times I wonder – what if we had a group – perhaps a whole industry, with printing presses and transmitters and stuff, whose job it could be to check this sort of crap out?)

Tomorrow:  If you live in Waconia or Minnetonka, one of Barnes’ staffers has something to say to you.