MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis mayoral candidate Tom Hoch is hitting the airwaves this week with an attention-grabbing television ad.
The unusual ad introduces Hoch to Minneapolis voters in a humorous way, highlighting his same-sex marriage.
Hoch’s husband is featured introducing him to voters.
The Hoch for Mayor ad is a twist on a typical political storyline: the affectionate, humorously exasperated spouse responding to an incredulous house guest.
“Is he always talking about improving Minneapolis?” one house guest asks in the ad.
“Yea,” Hoch’s husband replies, with a sigh.
Unlike most political ads, the couple here is gay.
“I happen to be gay, but I’m not running to be the gay mayor,” Hoch said. “I want people to know who I am.”
Hoch is the former longtime leader of the Hennepin Theater Trust, which helped revitalize downtown, and the former president of the Downtown Council.
His get-to-know-me ad is based on a similar one in Texas last year: a county commissioner candidate who spent too much time at home talking public policy.
“Please re-elect Gerald,” the exasperated wife pleads. “Please!”
Minnesota political analyst Larry Jacobs, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis, calls Hoch’s ad a way to break through a mayor’s race with many candidates.
“It’s a close race,” Jacobs said. “It’s clear the incumbent, Betsy Hodges, is going to have a tough fight on her hands, and he wants to become part of that fight, become relevant. This ad puts him in the mix.”
Hoch’s ad will run this week during Pride Week — no accident — but he says it’s not necessarily aimed at gay voters.
“It’s also an example of how normal we all are,” Hoch said. “We’re married. Happens to be two men, but it really isn’t substantially different than it is for any married couple.”