Richard Painter has a few things going for him as a United States Senate candidate.
Like name recognition: Painter, a University of Minnesota professor and former ethics attorney in George W. Bush's White House, has become a national figure as one of Donald Trump's most expert and outspoken cable television critics.
Painter also has a couple obstacles to overcome. Biggest of all: He identified as a Republican through this spring, and only converted to the DFL Party just in time to join Minnesota's U.S. Senate race. That left Painter little hope of winning an endorsement over DFL U.S. Sen. Tina Smith; at this month's endorsement convention, Smith got 74 percent support on the first ballot, quadrupling Painter's 17 percent.
Getting the party nod was never Painter's plan. He intends to make his case to the voting public and win the statewide primary election in August. To that end, Painter's campaign released his first video ad Sunday evening.
Let's give them this: This clip pretty much demands that you watch it.
Many first-time candidates opt for a soft-focus introduction of their background, their family, their "values," and their dreams for the "communtiy." This is not that.
"Some people see a dumpster fire," Painter begins, "and do nothing but watch the spectacle."
Pictured just over Painter's shoulder as he says this: an actual dumpster fire! Metaphor made literal!
"There is an inferno raging in Washington," Painter says, "but here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we know how to put out a fire."
We won't spoil the ending for you, though, in truth, we're hoping this is just the first scene of a blockbuster action movie coming to theaters this summer.