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Video: The painfully bad Dan Helmer “Top Gun” ad

To cleanse the palate. The first and most important task for a newbie congressional candidate is to get his name out there, right? Make an impression. Do something to make sure voters, most of whom don’t give a wet fart whom their party nominates, will check the box next to your name on primary day purely because they recognize it. Most U.S. elections below the presidential level, I’d bet, are won and lost not among people who follow politics every day but among those who see a candidate’s name and think “Oh yeah, that guy!” before casting a ballot for him.

Meet Dan Helmer. West Point grad, Rhodes scholar, Army veteran, and now “that guy.” The fact that someone with a resume like that is reduced to this in a bid for attention tells you everything you need to know about the importance of name recognition in politics.

Don’t count him out against Barbara Comstock, though, assuming he makes it through the primary. She won her race last year by just six points and her district’s in Virginia, a state that’s turning bluer. More than one forecaster has her seat as a pure toss-up next fall. But Helmer probably won’t be her challenger; this HuffPost story handicaps the Dem primary as a likely battle between a Virginia state senator and a former State Department official who’s already been endorsed by Gloria Steinem and Khizr Khan.

Exit question via David Drucker: How old do you need to be to understand that this clip is a parody and to know what it’s lampooning? Forty? Imagine the horrified millennials who’ll watch it thinking it’s an original idea, wondering what the hell possessed Helmer to do this.

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