LIMA — If you can’t get an audience to pay attention, break out the puppets.
While the technique may seem apropos for a kindergarten class, Janet Garrett, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s challenger for the 4th Congressional District, has brought the strategy to the campaign trail.
Rolled out this weekend, Garrett’s campaign has added a new tool to its political playbook – a two-foot-tall puppet replica of the Congressman complete with blue button-down and yellow tie Jordan often wears when grilling Justice Department officials.
As of Saturday, Garrett has released three videos of Jordan’s felt-covered caricature, depicting her Republican opponent as dodging debates and avoiding Garrett’s questioning of his record on women’s issues.
In one video, the puppet-version of Jordan plugs his ears and responds to Garrett: “Why do we always have to talk about girls?”
This isn’t the first time puppets have been used to depict Republican political operatives. In 2010, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” interviewed a smooth-talking puppet-version of Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, after Steele canceled his appearance. But watching such strategies rolled out three weeks before election day by an actual political campaign is a first.
This is the third time Garrett has ran against Jordan for his seat in the House of Representatives. Earlier races saw Jordan take the district by 36 points, but Garrett has said this time around, she’s been able to gather a team of professionals to help run her campaign, including well-known Democratic political strategist Joe Trippi.
Even so, it’s been an uphill battle for the former school teacher to break the district of its Republican bias. The latest voter indexes label the district as “strong Republican”.
As for Jordan’s campaign, Jordan has been busy juggling two races in the run-up to November. While Garrett attacks at home, he’s been drumming up support for a potential Speaker race against front-runner Rep. Kevin McCarthy by raising campaign dollars for conservative candidates and working to ensure Republicans will hold the House.
Kevin Eichinger, Jordan’s Chief of Staff, responded to Garrett’s strategy: “Like she knows, and has admitted, we are debating, just like we always have, and if she is going to lie about something as provable as this, what else is she willing to lie about in this campaign.”
The two campaigns have a number of debates planned in October. Earlier dates suggested by Garrett’s campaign were turned down by Jordan’s campaign citing scheduling conflicts with Jordan’s voting sessions in the House.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.