And finally, I want to

And finally, I want to note that despite John Kline’s victory on Tuesday, Bill Luther’s dirty trick worked–sort of. Luther’s campaign coordinated with a Democratic activist named Sam Garth, who filed in Luther’s district under the banner of the fictitious “No New Taxes” party. The obvious intent was to drain conservative support away from Kline’s campaign. The tactic was denounced by every newspaper in the Twin Cities and in Luther’s district, and the issue kept Luther on the defensive throughout the campaign. Nevertheless, for three or four days prior to the election, Luther blanketed the airways with a television ad that began, “Are you ready for a new tax?” It went on to quote Kline commenting favorably on the concept of a national sales tax–but without noting that the national sales tax (which is not part of Kline’s platform in any case) is envisioned as a substitute for the income tax. On Tuesday, Sam Garst and the No New Taxes party drew the votes of a clueless 4.3% of the voters who had somehow missed the entire controversy, but were likely influenced by Luther’s ad. If the race had been as close as Luther and Kline’s two prior races, that 4.3% would have swung the election to Luther. Thus, Luther’s dirty trick worked, in a sense; of course, the controversy cost him many votes and probably accounts for a good part of Kline’s margin.

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