If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the metro rich guys buying club known as the Freedom Club PAC admires Melissa Wagner, the DFL-endorsed candidate in the Minnesota House District 23B.
Back in mid-January, the Melissa Wagner campaign sent out this postcard with a handwritten message on one side:
According to the district voter who sent us the image, "The cards from her were all hand written by volunteers. There were two groups working on it. One group did 2500 cards."
That strategy must have impressed the pros up at the Freedom Club State PAC, for our correspondent received a mail piece from the political committee with this image on one side:
Our source said that the "handwriting" is simply a printed image, not written by hand. According to the Freedom Club website, the Freedom Club State PAC:
The Freedom Club State PAC supports Minnesota candidates with direct contributions or with independent expenditures.
Over the last several years, the Freedom Club State PAC has spent millions supporting conservative Minnesota candidates for public office. Between the 2010 and 2016 election, Freedom Club State PAC supported candidates won over 70% of the time. The Freedom Club State PAC spends more money supporting conservative candidates than any other PAC in Minnesota.
Where does that money come from? The fund's reports to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board show that the fund's money comes from large itemized contributions--$52,000 in 2017 alone. The donors are not the sort to be handwriting postcards to voters in south central Minnesota.
At the Mankato Free Press, Trey Mewes profiled the candidate who did have supporters who would hand-write messages to voters in the district in Wagner sees rural values as key in 23B. Mewes reports:
Melissa Wagner is well aware of her position as a Democrat in a political race where people expect a Republican to win.
The Butternut Valley Township native is embarking on her first campaign to serve as representative in House District 23B, even as political experts call for the seat to likely go for Republicans. Yet Wagner believes her upbringing in the area, as well as her ability to respond to local issues, makes her a perfect fit for the district.
"We need to be listening to the people that we’re representing," Wagner said. "If my values are more left-leaning but the people I represent lean more to the right, then I need to honor that."
She said she had considered running for office for a while — Wagner's mother served on the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School Board for two decades, and her father served on the local co-op and township boards for many years. Yet Wagner was inspired to run in the upcoming Feb. 12 special election in part through her faith, which she believes as a Christian means she needs to use her skills to help her community.
"I can’t just sit in my pew at church on Sunday," she said.
Though education is Wagner's specialty, she credits her farming background with giving her the agricultural experience necessary to represent the district — parts of Blue Earth, Waseca, Watonwan and Le Sueur counties. . . .
Read the rest in the Mankato Free Press.
Pre-general election reports for both MN House District 23B are available now at the CFB website for period through December 4, 2017 through January 29, 2018. Wagner ended the reporting period with $16,470.84 cash on hand, while Munson closed with $2,116.96 in the bank, a consequence of the primary battle with Watonwan County Commissioner Scott Sanders.
Since the reporting period ended, Wagner has received $539.00 from a terminating candidate committee within the state senate district, $1000 from Emily's List, and $2000 from union PACs for a total of $3539.00 in large contributions. Munson gotten $750 from the Le Sueur County Republican Party and $2000 from a terminating candidate committee in the attorney general's race for a total of $2750.
Here's the Republican's pre-general filing:
And that for Melissa Wagner:
We don't know of any newspaper endorsements for either candidate.
Photo: Top: One side of an independent expenditure political postcard sent by the state DFL to Minnesota House District 23B voters this week. Below: scans of a handwritten postcard from Melissa Wagner's campaign and a not-quite handwritten mail piece from the metro-based Freedom Club State PAC.
If you appreciate our posts and original analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen, 600 Maple Street, Summit SD 57266) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post. Those wishing to make a small ongoing monthly contribution should click on the paypal subscription button.
Or you can contribute via this link to paypal; use email email@example.com as recipient.