Given the kerfuffle over the endorsement of State Supreme Court Justice candidate Michelle MacDonald and subsequent revelations in the media about her pending DUI trial and her courtroom antics, it's not surprising that someone might create a Facebook page dedicated to requests for the state chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota to resign.
What is surprising is how many of the Keith Downey Should Resign community's fans live in Turkey, as a Google search of the term reveals. The page quickly gained nearly 5000 likes after being created on August 23, 2014, according to its timeline.
Is this fan base a result of a paid campaign to gain "likes"?
Here's the Likes page; readers can see that the "City" results is not public:
Update: The Facebook keeper is denying that any ""likes" are paid friends, but there's another huge jump in the fanbase:
Een more entertaining: the notion that "some birdie" tipped Bluestem about this and that there's a question about the authorship of this blog:
The presumed author of this blog, Sally Jo Sorensen, must not be getting her information from the wrong birdie.
We used a google search to find the Turkish fans, and clearly indicated our method. When we now google the page name, we don't find the same results, but search terms "Keith Downey Should Resign" and "Ankara" still reveal three pages of hits. (We had a screenshot)
A similiar search for "Keith Downey Should Resign" and "Minneapolis" yielded five hits:
Update: Republican activist and blogger Jeff Klob tweets that the second name on the list is a "fake account" who runs any other fake accounts:
@sallyjos FYI that William Deberg is a fake account and whoever runs it is behind many other fake accounts.— Jeff Kolb (@jpkolb) August 27, 2014
A Typepad account claiming to be Deberg has replied in our comments:
I would like it to be known that I am NOT behind the Keith Downey Should Resign page as "reported" on Bluestem Prairie. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Jeff Kolb For Crystal City Council, who has been posing as me on Facebook as Bill De Berg and @Libertylonghair on Twitter is most likely the dood behind it. I certainly don't have money laying around to buy fake profile "likes". I would like the insinuation that I am behind that page to be redacted by the author. Much like former Governor Ventura, I worry that my reputation could be damaged by this allegation. I have been active with Bonn Clayton's JD organization and that is why I posted there. I share many MNGOP activists concern about the association between Keith Downey and the Civis Media Group. I also question his motives behind the Michelle MacDonald fiasco. As much as I support the movement to ask for his resignation, I am not an organizer, nor am I an admin on that page.
Commenter name: William DeBerg
Perhaps even more entertaining, the page now has more several thousand fans than the Facebook page for the Republican Party of Minnesota:
Wherever the fans are coming from, there are more them than for the official page of the party (fanbase city: Minneapolis)
Bluestem is detecting that old geographic pattern that we've seen before in a highly popular Republican Facebook page: HD12A Republican "Istanbul Jeff" Backer, as we reported back in February's Sailing to Byzantium: "Bangkok" Jeff Backer's paid fan base now 18-24 year olds in Istanbul, Turkey.
While the "Keith Downey Should Resign" page hasn't been around long enough for Google's bots to find many "likes," and the creator hasn't left the most engaged city feature on the "Likes" page, Mr. Google is helpful in discovering where those liking the call for MNGOP state chair Keith Downey's resignation live.
Given the huge spike in likes and the large number of Turkish fans, Bluestem suspects the fanbase is the result of a paid campaign, rather than any organic groundswell to pressure the Republican chair to resign.
Those folks who have been visited by Mr. Google's bots are mostly by people living in Turkey (although the first few on the top of page one are Republican activists, including William Paulsen,who sought the party chair position in 2013 along with Bonn Clayton and Donald Allen).
Clayton appears on the back of the stage when MacDonald spoke to the convention in Rochester.
Here are the screenshots of the first two pages:
The person at the top of page one, William DeBerg, is promoting the page on Facebook:
He also shared the page with Bonn Clayton's "Original JD1 Group" the day it was created:
The Original Judical District 1 group is a group of Republicans who support endorsing judicial candidates.
And the other 2013 state chair contest contender, Donald Allen, makes an appearance in the "community" as well, posting on the timeline:
Bluestem has no sense of how building a community of paid Turkish Facebook fans demanding that the state chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota will help the cause of partisan endorsements of judicial candidates, Republican party building or anything except for popcorn sales for those of us watching this sideshow.
Screenshots: From various Facebook pages.
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