When we called Don Allen yesterday to chat with him about his ostensibly anti-Mark Dayton ad, he knew we weren't looking to write a post singing its praises.
"So -- how bad are you going to slam me?" he asked right away.
Sure enough, our post, entitled, "Anti-Dayton ad uses doe-eyed DFLer, gets mocked and ridiculed," resulted in Allen (and, by extension, his Independent Business News Network) being mocked and ridiculed.
But later in the day, Allen called us. He explained that he actually had ulterior motives in producing and releasing the spot.
"I was hoping someone would bite," Allen, who describes himself as a "new Republican," says. "It's not necessarily that I don't like Mark Dayton. I don't like the process the MNGOP uses to be exclusive and not do what they need to do."
"All [Minnesota Republicans] can do is talk about Obama," Allen continues. "I thought, I bet I can get more publicly about a bullshit low-def amateur video that [the party] can get from a $100,000 campaign ad that you send all around the state of Minnesota. I did it, I don't care about the comments, I didn't put it through my high-end [video production] stuff and I only paid $10 to get that done."
Allen says the spot is actually meant as a subtle critique of the MNGOP's agenda.
"The message is, I'm not going to promote fiscal responsibility and small government and all that, because if you don't have a job, that means nothing," he says. "I'm realistic -- we're not gonna beat Ellison or Franken or McCollum -- the only real chance is to get Governor Dayton out with Jeff Johnson, but the way [the MNGOP is] doing it, they're going to screw it up. With that said, I just wanted to prove a point that they're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and all these campaign ads..."
Allen says ads he plans to release later this campaign season will be higher quality.
"They're not going to actually go after the DFL or Mark Dayton, they're going to be about ethos," he says, adding that since our post went up yesterday, "I've had about four calls from GOP campaigns, but I've turned them down. I'm too busy."
(For more, click to page two.)
"I'm trying to slap some sense into them," Allen continues. "Right now all the Republicans can do is talk about Obama -- he's a socialist, the birth certificate thing, that's all BS, let's get Minnesota jobs together for everybody and lower the unemployment rate."
We pointed out to Allen that Minnesota already has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. With the economy humming along, how can Republicans make the case that things would be even better if they were in control?
"MnDOT, from October to March, spent $345 million for Minnesota roads, bridges, and highways, and they gave one African American contractor $981 out of more than a quarter-billion dollars," he replies. "They need to follow the regulations that are already on the books. Dayton promised a year ago that he would take a look at MnDOT, but they still haven't gotten in straight."
So Allen wants the MNGOP to become the party of racial justice? Given some of the stuff party chairs in exurban and rural counties have been posting on social media recently, that might prove to be a difficult sell.