Johnson’s Tea Party tour of Minnesota

PoliticsMN_WEBSITELogoJeffJohnsonHeadshotJeff Johnson, the Republican endorsed candidate for governor, has been attempting to distance himself from his association with numerous Tea Party groups in Minnesota. Johnson told Minnesota Public Radio last week that “I am not a tea party extremist.” I was surprised by Johnson’s comments, as he proudly attended Tea Party meeting during his campaign for governor.

A search of Johnson’s Facebook page shows pictures of Johnson speaking at numerous Tea Party meetings. Johnson’s campaign tweeted about his appearance at Tea Party meetings and posted pictures of him speaking to groups all across Minnesota. Below are pictures from Johnson speaking at Tea Party meetings, posted by his campaign:



Compounding Johnson’s problems, the Minnesota DFL released a video of Johnson giving inconsistent statements about his involvement with Tea Party groups:

The evidence is overwhelming that Johnson attended Tea Party meetings and solicited the support and endorsement from people attending meetings. It is puzzling that Johnson event made the initial comments about his involvement with Tea Party groups in Minnesota, creating this controversy. It is very easy to document Johnson’s involvement with Tea Party groups and refute his new comments.

Johnson is clearly attempting a post-primary move to the center of the political spectrum. But this make-over attempt has been bungled and Johnson’s campaign needs to rework this messaging strategy, as the record is clear about Johnson’s attempts to win the support of numerous Tea Party groups in Minnesota.

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  1. From what I’ve seen, Johnson has been clear. He never denied seeking Tea Party support, and explained in his Almanac comments briefly excerpted above that his campaign will require help from all sectors of the Republican coalition, in addition to independents. The idea that he’s distancing himself from the Tea Party has been concocted by Democratic party officers like Ken Martin who seek to drive a wedge in Johnson’s coalition.

  2. “I am not a tea party extremist.” – Emphasis on “extremist”. I don’t know if Brodkorb is stupid or pretending to be stupid when he takes this quote out of context. Johnson’s point is that he’s not an extremist like the left wants everyone to believe. They’ve worked hard to create a caricature of Tea Party folks so they can do exactly what they’re doing now, which is paint a candidate like Johnson as an extremist.

    In every interview I’ve seen, Johnson openly says that he’s been to Tea Party meetings and has sought their support. This article is just another attempt by Brodkord to stir up a controversy where none exists in order to try to remain relevant. It’s funny, regarding Johnson he says “But this make-over attempt has been bungled” which is really rich coming from someone who has been such an embarrassment.

    I normally just ignore Brodkorb’s self-serving dribble but this one is just too much. It’s like he’s trying to help Dayton and ABM win this election.

  3. Where does Mr. Johnson stand on the following issues:

    A State Bank
    State Sovereignty
    Militarization of Police
    Jury Nullification
    Corporatism replacing Democracy

    These are some of the issues that motivated the Tea Party as these and other pressing issues were not being addressed by rank and file Republicans. So where does Jeff stand on these seminal issues? You cannot have your cake and eat it too. I think Mr. Brodkorb has done a good service on this story as our Republic is in tatters due to mealy mouthed politicians unwilling to address third-rail issues. I hope you understand that the big companies and banks that you support via “free-markets” are not loyal to our country and accomplish the exact opposite of “free-markets”. I hope Mr. Johnson is a Tea Partier.

  4. These are made up talking points from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota and the DFL Party. From those sources, any conclusions made should be taken with some suspicion. But when people like Brodkorb have an ax to grind, they try and make more of the story than it is.

    It is more damaging for Brodkorb to continue the narrative that he’s now a centrist, just reporting the facts, uuggh. Mainstream media and anyone who dislikes the Republican Party in Minnesota are all too willing to invite him into their circles, another reason to distrust anything Brodkorb concludes. When he ran Democrats Exposed at least he was honest where he stood. I respect someone more for being honest about their bias. BTW, it was the Democrat led State Senate who had all the power to payoff Brodkorb’s bogus lawsuit. And, they didn’t.

    There is just as much evidence that Johnson is not a partisan ideologue as has been put forward that he is. Tom Horner’s endorsement and addition to his campaign is one. What other people say about you is much more powerful than what you can claim about yourself. If you look at the totality of where Johnson has campaigned, pre and post Primary, you see the whole story, not just the parts that you pull together to make him look bad. Let’s leave that up to the Alliance for a Better Minnesota and not eat our own.

    • Angela: It is surprising for me to read about your concerns about Republicans eating their own. You have continually attacked me with vicious comments on Twitter and other social media platforms. My post is reasonable and points out a clear record of Johnson soliciting the support of Tea Party members.

  5. Also interesting that comments are moderated on this site.

  6. Sorry, Michael. I don’t understand this post. Absolutely nothing wrong with a statewide (or any) candidate attending Tea Party meetings. The media loves to take shots at the Tea Party. Like any organization, there are extreme elements. But the Tea Party, overall, has been a great thing. Who cares if he went to some meetings? I think it’s great.

    • I believe Johnson’s comments show a lack of communications discipline and this whole dust-up was a problem created by his campaign. The video is clear that Johnson asked for the support and endorsement from Tea Party members. He should have been more articulate about his involvement and work in courting Tea Party members.

  7. Josh D. Ondich says:

    Jeff Johnson is trying to build a coalition amongst the GOP, but I wonder if he is doing it the wrong way. I know he has asked Tea Party groups for support or endorsement including saying things to appease that element of the GOP and its now backfiring in the media for him. I believe he and many GOP candidates for higher offices like Governor and US Senate are caught in a catch-22. A GOP candidate wants to appeal to the mainstream to get undecied voters, but that candidate does not want to leave the ideological base of his or her party out to dry. If the candidate looks to mainstream, then the ideological base will not vote for that candidate, If the candidate looks to appeasing to that ideological base, then undecided or independent voters will vote for that candidate inadditon to ridicule in the media. I guess the quandry for Jeff Johnson is how does he explain courting a base to his coalition that gets negative press and is combative to others in the coalition that does not agree with them on every issue.

    Josh D.Ondich
    Prior Lake

  8. The control of the current MNGOP is divided among 3 groups: Business, Religious, and the Tea Party. Business Republicans support whatever they think is best for business, like lower taxes and the end of business regulations. Whatever makes them more money is good. McFadden, Paulsen, Kline, and Loon are good examples of Business Republicans. They are the establishment Republicans.
    Religious Republicans focus on opposing abortions and defeating marriage equality and getting others to listen only to their gospel. Bachmann used to be the best example of the Religious Republicans, but she gained more influence leading the Tea Party Republicans. With the defeat of the Marriage Amendment and passage of Marriage Equality, their influence is on the decline. Republican candidates still court them, but not seriously enough to take up their causes. Slowly, this group will align more with the Tea Party Republicans to stay influential.
    Tea Party Republicans, with some crossover between the other 2 groups, are more committed to follow the agenda of the Tea Party than what Republican leadership wants. They are more open to support more conservative groups like the John Birch Society. They oppose anything Pres. Obama supports, they hate Gov. Dayton (“Gov. Goofy Eyes”), and they view Democrats as enemies of the U.S. Clashes with Business Republicans are due to compromises with Democrats, overspending unnecessarily, and disrespect by being ignored.
    Moderate Republicans, like Gov. Arne Carlson, have been driven out of the current MNGOP. These people are more tolerant and worked to solve problems, not manipulate things to get their way. They moved on to join the DFL or the Independence Party.
    Jeff Johnson may like for people to think he is a Business Republican, but he is a Tea Party Republican because he needs the Tea Party support for volunteers, money and votes. Johnson does not have enough money on his own, like McFadden, to run statewide, so he has to embrace the Tea Party no matter what. Until Johnson can tell people clearly how he differs or disagrees with the Tea Party, he is a Tea Party Republican.

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