In the Kerkhoven Banner and an online voter guide created by the West Central Tribune, endorsed Republican Minnesota House district 17A candidate Tim Miller implies he has discussed governing together with District 17 State Senator Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City).
Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Koenen stated that no such conversations have taken place--and that the only two Minnesota House candidates he supports in the November 4 election are 17A incumbent Andrew Falk (DFL, Murdock) and 17B incumbent Mary Sawatzky.
Koenen has doorknocked for Andrew Falk in Chippewa and Renville Counties, marched in parades with Falk and at a recent Chippewa County fundraiser honoring the late Gary Kubly, urged Falk's re-election.
"I've never had this sort of thing happen to me before," the genial state senator said of Miller's claims.
Miller implies Koenen accord
"Lyle Koenen is our Senator regardless of this election. He's going to be our Senator and he's going to be in the majority. I've already talked to Lyle and said there are certain things that are important to our district and hopefully we agree going to work together for that and he agreed."
In an online voter guide available via the West Central Tribune, Miller went farther in his claim. In answering the following question:
More often than not on major issues, Minnesota government becomes bogged down in partisan gridlock. What is your solution, or is that acceptable?
Andrew Falk has never...never worked in a bipartisan manner. I have spoken on multiple occasions with my State Senator Lyle Koenen. We have agreed to work together toward common sense solutions to challenges within our district.
Senator Lyle Koenen's much different version
Koenen noted that the two House candidates he was working to help re-elect are Falk and Sawatzky, both of whom have been targeted for defeat as Miller's Republican Party of Minnesota attempts to retake the legislature's lower chamber.
Koenen tells a much different story about his encounters with Miller:
At one of the parades early this summer, he approached me and indicated that he was going to be elected. He said that he wanted to meet with him to talk about how we might work together.
He was doing the talking and I was listening. He said we should getting together for coffee to talk. I said, "Okay." That was the end of it [the topic]. We talked at other parades but never about this.
Koenen worries that readers will infer Miller's assertions are an endorsement on his part:
That's what I read into it and I'm concerned that other people seeing it might read the same thing into it.
Koenen is strongly supporting both incumbent legislators in Senate District 17, as he believes the team works very well together.
While the election letter deadline has passed for the Kerkhoven Banner, Koenen is submitting a letter to the editor of the West Central Tribune to note that while another candidate--who will remain unnamed--is implying that Koenen supports him, the state senator has endorsed Falk and Sawatzky and is working for their re-election.
"I've never had this sort of thing happen to me before," the genial state senator said, noting that Miller had not asked permission to use Koenen's name in campaign material.
Bluestem adds this episode to the list of peculiar claims Miller has invented. It isn't an isolated case of Miller talking out of his hat.
He couldn't have been bothered to read the Women's Economic Security Act. He was outraged about funding for the Terrestrial Invasive Species Research Center, accusing incumbent state representative Andrew Falk of imposing new regulations on farmers, when in fact, the Center is researching new tools for farmers to use in fighting superweeds.
Miller made outlandish statements about prevailing wage in a candidate forum on Friday. In the same radio debate, Miller deplored negative campaigning via independent expenditures by outside groups, even though he's shared some of these materials on social media and done negative campaigning of his own.
The stakes in the house races in Koenen's district are high.
According a story about "big money" in house races, Minnesota Public Radio reports that over $600,000 has been spent in the two districts by political parties and political groups.
And that figure doesn't even include the price of Miller's pilfering of his own credibility.
Photo: Lyle Koenen (left) holds signs for Mary Sawatzky and Andrew Falk in an early summer parade while walking with Falk (third from left) and Sawatzy (fourth from left). Via Facebook.
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