‘Chubster’ House candidate gets workout from walking in campaign ad

Beyond the tons of attention it’s garnering online, congressional candidate Jeff Barth acknowledges there was an added benefit to filming his viral campaign video: He managed to squeeze in a workout.

Barth, who faces a Democratic primary battle next week, is aiming to run against Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) in November.

In the almost five-minute ad, which has been viewed more than 150,000 times on YouTube since it was posted less than a week ago, the straight-talking county commissioner is seen walking along a trail through a forest.

Barth, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve, says all that strolling during the nearly six-hour shoot had him working up a slight sweat: “Certainly I was a little out of breath there in the beginning because I just walked up the hill, which is probably about one-third of a mile long. And also having been in the military, I know that as we run it helps regulate your breathing … but as you’re talking while you’re walking, you sort of get a little winded.”

Barth then chuckled, “But I’m a bit of a chubster. I don’t deny that.”

While keeping what he calls a “fairly leisurely pace,” Barth interacts with a variety of props throughout his political ad’s lengthy hike, including spinning a globe, making a move on a chessboard and shooting a rifle.

After the video shoot ended, the married dad of two managed to avoid a real-life fright as he carried the scary-looking firearm off the set, “I’m walking down this trail all by myself and I come across these two young gals, and for some reason they weren’t scared out of their mind … They were smiling to the point of flirtation. This is South Dakota, and they believed me when I told them don’t worry, I was just shooting a video.”

Barth says he’s “very pleased” by all the attention his walk in the wilderness has been receiving. The Huffington Post dubbed the vid the “strangest campaign ad of 2012.”

The renaissance man, a former state chess champ, tells ITK that anyone who knows him would agree the ad is a good representation of the real Barth, explaining that they would say, “He does play chess. And he does tell bad jokes!”