Yesterday morning, Bluestem posted Mower County to Tony Sutton: Send us the $2,242 MNGOP owes for recount, based on a story in the Austin Herald. I wasn't the only one looking at the story.
The Rochester Post Bulletin took a closer look, and editor Jay Furst shares his reporter's close encounter of the Sutton kind in Pay the bill, pal! Don't blame the media or the county!:
Tony Sutton, the volatile Minnesota Republican Party chairman, blows a gasket in a story today by Post-Bulletin reporter Kay Fate. . . .
. . ."I don't appreciate him blackmailing us and saying if we don't pay him right away, he's going to the press. I think it's unconscionable for a public official to threaten somebody and blackmail them. … I think that's unconscionable, and it's no way for a public official to behave.
"It's hard to raise money. It's a recession; it's the winter-time, and we're doing the best we can. They're going to get paid, that's going to happen."
"Absolutely," Sutton said, "but I don't appreciate a public official, who's working at taxpayer expense, threatening to blackmail us. He works for us.
"I know he's probably a big man down there in Mower County, but that is just unconscionable for him to blackmail us in such a brazen way."
Is this appropriate conduct for the man who leads the Republican Party of Minnesota? He can blame Dayton, blame Groh, blame us for assisting in "blackmail," blame the recession, but nowhere does he seem to apologize for being late.
Pay the bill, pal! It's March.
The print version of the PB also reports that the MNGOP owes another county in addition to Mower.
Frankly, this story simply strikes me as weird. The outstanding bills that the Emmer campaign ran up in its futile recount record sweep across the state were widely reported, as was the fact that the bills were being rolled over to the Republican Part of Minnesota. It's pretty hard to blackmail someone with public knowledge.
Perhaps the stress is getting to Chairman Sutton, and once he's raised the money, perhaps he could spend more time with his family.