A letter in today's Aitkin Independent Age slamming first-term state representative Joe Radinovich should help remind voters in Minnesota House District 10B of Republican dirty tricks in the last election.
Two years ago where a candidate lived was extremely important to Democrats when they unmercifully ganged up on and hounded Chip Cravaack. He lived in CD8, even though his wife accepted a job in Connecticut and moved there with their kids. The criticism was as unrelenting as it was unwarranted. But then, dirty politics is nothing new to the DFL.
. . .Joseph Radinovich’s address is listed as PO Box 215, Crosby, MN. Property records indicate he does not own any property in Crow Wing County. If he happens to rent his domicile is that closer to Chip Cravaacks situation or that of Oberstar? Chip lived here and Oberstar and Joe were/are packsackers. Kinda like modern day carpetbaggers.
In addition to a residency question, Joe is employed by a government employees union. That on its face is a conflict of interest, he can act either as our representative or as a union employee. His loyalties are divided. He cannot put both hats on at the same time because the two sometimes conflict with each other. He needs to take one off permanently. . . .
Bluestem was puzzled by the accusation that Radinovich, a fourth-generation Cuyuna Iron Ranger, whose personal Facebook page is full of photos of things like Youth Waterfowl Hunts near Deerwood and a clean plate at the Garrison Area Seniors chicken dinner, would be anything other than who he is.
First, the mailing address that Williams lists in the P.O. Box for the campaign committee. Had Williams had the capacity to look on Radinovich's official page, he would have seen an address in Crosby. However, a friend who works in the legislature recalled hearing that Radinovich had sold his house and moved to his brother's house in the district.
Bluestem contacted the first-term legislator, who said in a phone interview that he had sold his home in January.
Earlier, he had quit his job as a national organizer with the American Federal Government Employees union (AFGE) in order to devote his time to doing his job as a state legislator.
Because of the significant drop in his income, Radinovich discovered that he needed to tighten his budget, sold his home iand and now rents the upstairs at his brother's home at 225 5th Street in Ironton. He registered to vote at this address for the August 12 primary.
Like other people who live in that part of Ironton, he receives his mail at a post office box, though not the campaign P.O. box listed in Williams' LTE.
Getting mail at the post office is a common practice in towns too small for home delivery routes; Bluestem's editor lives in the same situation in sunny Maynard.
Williams' concern trolling about Radinovich's home and job is simply false.
A history of Republican dirty tricks in 10B
Pat Williams, who once wrote the editors of the Age to tell readers that marriage equality might allow people to marry their cats*, may have done voter a great favor by reminding them of the history of dirty tricks his party has played to try to gain this swing seat.
In October 2012, Aaron Rupar at the City Pages reported in MNGOP staffer claims to be Democrat in letter to editor, urges DFLers to vote for write-in candidate:
On October 23, the Brainerd Dispatch published a letter to the editor written by a self-proclaimed Democrat named Stephen Sundquist.
Sundquist's letter expresses disappointment with Joe Radinovich, the DFL-endorsed candidate in House District 10B, and urges "all true Democrats," a set of people including himself, to vote for a write-in candidate instead.
But it turns out Sundquist isn't who he said he is. He's actually a paid MNGOP staffer working for the campaign of Dale Lueck, the Republican candidate running against Radinovich.
A simple Google search of Sundquist yields the following (his actual LinkedIn profile has been deleted):
The DFL filed a complaint with the state Office of Administrative Hearings alleging that Sundquist's letter violates the Fair Campaign Practices and Campaign Finance Acts. . .
The Associated Press later reported that Sunquist was fired.
The complaint itself was dismissed because the law applies only to accusation against the candidates themselves, but the administrative law judge acknowledged that the alleged behavior was highly objectionable:
While the conduct that the Complainant attributes to Mr. Sundquist, if true, is highly objectio nable, it is not actionable under the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The Fair Campaign Practices Act does not reach every misstatement of fact made in a Letter to the Editor, but only those that relate to a candidate’s personal or political character or acts. In this instance, the only assertions contained in the Letter to the Editor that the Complain an t alleges are false pertain to Mr. Sundquist himself . None of the statements that were alleged to be factually false relate to the personal character of Mr. Radinovich, the political character of Mr. Radinovich , or the acts of Mr. Radinovich.
Williams' letter does accuse Radinovich of not living in the district--but as the Republican activist is not an official on the Dale Lueck campaign 2014, it's probably up to the newspaper to retract the letter as it contains information that is simply false.
It's unfortunate that the Minnesota News Council isn't around anymore to address this sort of thing.
That's not all. After Radinovich was elected, dubious letters kept coming. In early April 2012, the Aitkin Independent Age reported DFL files complaint over political attack:
The Minnesota DFL has filed a complaint against State Rep. Greg Davids with the Office of Administrative Hearings for false claims he made in a political attack against Rep. Joe Radinovich (DFL-Crosby).
In a letter to the editor in the Brainerd Dispatch on Feb. 22, and in the Aitkin Independent Age Feb. 27, Rep. Davids claimed Radinovich voted for a $3.7 billion tax increase.
Davids claimed Radinovich voted yes on Gov. Mark Dayton’s now-outdated tax proposal. In truth, the vote was on a procedural motion to move the bill from one committee to another where it could receive more public input.
“Rep. Davids is the longest serving Republican in the House and he knows the difference between a procedural motion and a vote on bill,” said DFL Chair Ken Martin. “This is politics at its worst and a disservice to the public, who has a right to know the facts about what their representative has actually voted for and voted against.”
Photo: Letter writer and Tea Party Republican activist Pat Williams of Aitkin, via Minnesota Public Radio(above); Joe Radinovich (right) on a Youth Waterfowl Hunt near Deerwood. He sure looks like he's from around there (below).
*Oscar, the supervisor at Bluestem Prairie's World Headquarters, turned up his freckled nose this idea, since there's no reason to buy the tuna if you've got the treats.
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