Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Nation’s worst campaign ad? ‘Award’ goes to shirtless Minneapolis mayoral candidate Wagner

The worst political campaign ads of 2013 were announced today, at least the worst as judged by The Fix column in the Washington Post.

The column notes that it’s getting harder to find real clunkers because all the big money going into state and local ads means candidates can usually hire decent media people.

But they did find some very bad ones and the voting came down to six finalists.

In the end, Minneapolis’ own, mayoral candidate Jeffrey Alan Wagner, got the crown, thanks to his shirtless rant after walking out of a lake in his swimming suit: “Wake Up Minneapolis.

He yells at the end: “Wake the (blank) up,” before wading back into the water.

Wagner was one of 35 candidates in November’s mayoral election, won by Betsy Hodges. He was eliminated in the 16th round of ranked choice voting and his 189 votes were reallocated at that time. Hodges ultimately won in the 34th round with 38,870 votes.

National Public Radio, too, took note of the Wagnerian performance, listing it among its five memorable ads of the year.

The Fix’s other finalists were:

* “Opt Out/The Exam” (Generation Opportunity)

* “Economy” (Garden State Forward)

* “Don’t let them Detroit Virginia” (Fight for To morrow)

* “Biker Gangs” (Joe Lhota)

* “A toast to Tom Suozzi” (Adam Haber).

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 12/13/2013 - 08:47 am.


    At least Wagner’s ad was original. I assume all of these other ads are for losing candidates. Unfortunately, they don’t look that much different from ones I’ve seen for candidates who win. I’m sure I’ve seen the Suozzi ad somewhere or maybe another like it. It wouldn’t surprise me if these ads are cranked out by political consulting firms who just plug in different names for the area and the candidates involved.

Leave a Reply