Reporters and other political observers chronicling the surprising rise of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential contest are fond of drawing comparison’s to Jesse Ventura’s shocking win in Minnesota’s 1998 governor’s race. Most of the parallels are shallow and don’t truly reflect what happened in Ventura’s victory.

Now, there’s another overlap for pundits to ponder, and it’s all about toys.

The ex-pro wrestler/action-film cast member/talk radio host/former suburban mayor Ventura, who as a Reform Party candidate defeated established Democrat and Republican nominees, cut an enduring TV ad during his low-budget campaign featuring children playing with an action figure in the mold of Ventura.

“You can make Jesse battle special interest groups and party politics,” the narrator says. “You can also make Jesse lower taxes and improve public education and fight for the things Minnesotans really care about. Don’t waste your vote on politics as usual.”

The commercial, made by Minneapolis adman Bill Hillsman, was a hit and got plenty of free play in news accounts because of its novel approach.

Fast forward to 2016 and it’s Trump who has been turned into an action-figure doll. But the ad is designed to mock him and is being run in rough-and-tumble South Carolina by chief rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

A few cute kids try to figure out what the doll is about. “He pretends to be a Republican,” one says while others chime in with un-Republican things Trump has done or said over the years.

The narrator asks as the ad closes, “We wouldn’t tolerate these values in our children, why would we want them in a president?”

Reached Wednesday, Hillsman was critical of the copycat ad.

“I don’t think it makes any sense,” he said. “I mean why would kids be talking about things Republicans are or aren’t doing? The premise is ridiculous. In the Jesse action figure commercial it made sense because Jesse used to be a professional wrestler, and Jesse did have action figures made of him.”

“To think kids are going to be messing around with action figures talking about Republican talking points, I mean that’s just ridiculous,” Hillsman said. “Commercials that are interesting to people still have to be grounded in reality, and they still have to be grounded in strategy.”

So, the experts were spot on in their predictions from a couple months back, right?. Oh, wait. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are now the front-runners?  This year the conventional wisdom is definitely to be taken with a large grain of salt.

Let’s take a look at what happened yesterday and what happens next.

Here’s the Digest:

1. The message from New Hampshire voters? Let’s give the outsiders a chance. (New York Times)

2. With Trump getting his first victory, the fight on the Republican side was once again for second place. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the runner-up. (Washington Post)

3. Hillary Clinton is hoping states with more racial diversity will get her back in the hunt. (Politico)

4. Remember when Marco Rubio gave a victory speech after finishing third in Iowa last week? Yeah, that might have been a little premature. (Boston Globe)

5. So who goes on and who drops out? (NBC)

6. Here in Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton says he wants 35,000 state employees to have access to paid parental leave. (MPR News)

7. Republicans won two special legislative elections yesterday. (Star Tribune)

Republican candidates won special elections Tuesday in two Minnesota legislative districts.

The GOP majority in the Minnesota House grew by one seat when voters in Bloomington favored Chad Anderson over DFL candidate Andrew Carlson in District 50B. Anderson fills the vacancy created by the resignation of longtime DFL Rep. Ann Lenczewski.

Voters in Anoka County picked Republican Jim Abeler, a former state representative, to fill the vacancy in Senate District 35. Republican Sen. Branden Petersen resigned his seat last fall. Abeler easily defeated DFL candidate Roger Johnson and Zachary Phelps from the Legal Marijuana Now party.

Both special election winners will face voters again this fall, when all 201 legislative seats are on the ballot.