Rob Hahn wants us all to know he assaulted his ex-wife

Rob Hahn has a peculiar strategy to get people interested in his long-shot campaign for governor: tell the press about the violent episode that led his ex-wife to get a restraining order against him.

Hahn is running well behind his opponent for the Independence Party nomination, Tom Horner, who is himself polling a distant third to Republican and DFL candidates. Having basically decided not to waste his time with fundraising, Hahn is running a shoe-string campaign that relies heavily on YouTube clips and personal appearances.

He's also trying to drum up press interest in his campaign, and he's prepared to go to some downright creepy lengths to get it. Today's Strib has a front page story on Hahn, all about the March 2009 incident in which Hahn put his then-wife in a choke-hold and broke two telephones when she tried to call for help. Their two kids were at home at the time. Hahn's wife didn't press charges, but she got a restraining order, and their divorce, already in the works, was finalized not long after.

Hahn has been up-front about the issue, mentioning it unprompted in a statehouse rally in March, but the press didn't do much with it.

Then, two weeks ago, he invited himself over to the City Pages offices for a couple beers and some conversation, and in the midst of a discussion about his platform, suggested we might be interested in writing a story about his adventures in the world of domestic violence, what he learned from his mistake, and how the episode has shaped his position on family law reform.

Already wary of a trailing candidate's desperate pleas for coverage, and taking his ex-wife and kids into consideration, City Pages decided at the time not to help Hahn publicize his wife-strangling track record. Hahn said he'd also mentioned the incident in a letter he wrote to the editors of the Star Tribune. Looks like the work paid off -- he's got his first dedicated front page story today, with the words "protection order" in the headline.

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