More news of the attack mail pieces the Republican Party of Minnesota is mailing to targeted districts emerges in a Politics in Minnesota story out of Winona. Brian Bierschbach reports in Miller defends Winona-area swing seat:
His work ethic and the DFL’s backing have drawn the attention of the state GOP, which has targeted Krage with a couple of negative mail pieces. One attack, paid for by the Republican Party of Minnesota, labeled Krage the “handpicked” candidate of the “ultraliberal” advocacy group Alliance for a Better Minnesota.
The allegation stunned Krage, who said he wasn’t even familiar with the group. He googled the organization and found no reference to his campaign; a further search of his email correspondence also produced nothing.
According to the article, Krage was selected by local DFL activists in SD28 to run for the seat in the swing district that incumbent Jeremy Miller won by 437 votes in 2010, and the account seems plausible. The Winona Daily News staff writer Mary Juhl reported on December 1 that a Realtor to challenge Miller for state senate seat.
UPDATE: Krage refutes the mailer's claims here. Maybe the Republicans' confused ABM for the local Lions club in which the Winona business man is so involved. Winona is a long way from St. Paul, so it's possible. [end update]
ABM has run an off-season television and web ad in the district in last year. A 2011 PIM report by Paul Demko, Minnesota’s budget fight heads to Main Street, suggests that ABM targeted the district in post-session ads.
Miller in his turn had his own defenders. On June 1, 2011, the Rochester Post Bulletin reported in Business coalition launches ad campaign backing GOP budget stance that Miller and other area Republicans were touted in a print ad campaign placed by the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, "an organization comprised of 11 employer groups including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Partnership."
Local DFL reaction to the Republican Party mailings? Bierschbach reports:
Local DFL chair Rill Reuter expressed concern about the attacks, saying that once misinformation is released to the public, it can be hard to combat.
“If [Republicans] are pulling out all these stops, it tells me two possible things,” Reuter said. “One is that they think this is a swing district, and it could go DFL. And the other is that maybe we’re not the only district that they’re worried about.”
Krage concurs that the accusatory campaign flyers are a bad sign for the Republicans.
Indeed, with or without mention of ABM, the Republican Party is sending similar mail pieces across the state. Bluestem has posted about them in In SD24, MNGOP has money for stamps but not competent oppo research in attacks on Jensen and Attack mail drop: bank account isn't only negative thing about MN Republican Party. In a note on the latter post, Range blogger Aaron Brown commented:
An identical piece [to one run against Kevin Dahle] was sent attacking State. Sen. Tom Saxhaug in SD5. I'm sure they are using it in their top races. Still another piece mocked up like an old-time horror movie poster featured Saxhaug as "The Job Crusher" and included lots of puns related to zombies, monsters, etc. Nice to see the folks at MNGOP are having fun with this. But I can't tell whether they're effective or if people will just see them as silly.
Where's the Republican Party coming up with the coin for these mailings? How much are they spending? We won't know about the state-level finances until October 29, when reports are due for candidates and political parties.
Photo: Jack Krage, handpicked by Democrats in Senate District