A lonely Matt Birk sign, some blocks from where I'm typing this. Note the purple-and-gold color scheme. Photo by me.
by Dan Burns
Aug 8, 2022, 4:00 PM

A lieutenant governor candidate doesn’t seem to want his affiliation any too visible

I’ve learned from social media that I’m not the only one that’s noticing an unusual – indeed, in my experience, unprecedented – phenomenon this election season. That is, yards with a sign for the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Minnesota, namely Matt Birk, and nothing for the party’s candidate for governor, Dr. Scott Jensen.

Seems odd to me. Typically you see a standard sign with both candidates’ names, but the gubernatorial one at least a little more prominent. Why, oh why, would that not be the case now?

Maybe they are counting on it being all about Birk’s career with the Vikings. Though he last played for the Vikings 14 years ago. Where he played center. That is, if you don’t know much about football (and I certainly don’t blame you if that’s the case, especially here in Vikings-land), the guy who hikes the ball and only gets mentioned by the announcers if he gives up a sack or gets called for a penalty.

Still, to try to make it more about lt. gov. than gov., is an uncommon approach to say the least. On the other hand, when your top-of-the-ticket candidate is a Putin-praising COVID conspiracy freak, whose campaign is behind in cash on hand by almost a 9:1 margin, that might well be the way to go. I suppose we’ll find out.

Though I’ll also note that in recent years, except in deep-red states, entertainment (including sports) celebrity status seems to have stopped providing a political boost. Presumably primarily due to California’s experience with Gov. Schwarzenegger, though Minnesota’s with Gov. Ventura is likely a factor as well.

Update (August 14): Today I saw a sign in town that had a Birk design on one side and Jensen on the other. It’s possible the sign in my photo is one of those as well. If so, and again based on what I’ve seen on social media, the majority seem to be positioning theirs so that Birk’s side is more visible. Maybe not a great idea, though considering the alternative…

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