The Minnesota Republican Party has allegedly refused to provide material support to one of the State Legislature’s most conservative lawmakers in his primary race.
The Minnesota GOP has endorsed Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, for reelection, but the party’s support for the legislator essentially has stopped there. Munson is one of the only GOP-endorsed incumbents in the Minnesota House with a relatively competitive Republican challenger, that being Yvonne Simon.
“I have received tons of support from my local Republican county parties. As the endorsed candidate, they have rallied behind my campaign, providing thousands of dollars in direct contributions and volunteers have been putting up signs and door-knocking for my campaign,” said Munson, stressing the fact that county parties support his campaign.
But the Minnesota GOP is “silent in my race,” he said.
Munson was one of four lawmakers who broke from House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt’s leadership in late 2018 to form the New House Republican Caucus. The rogue caucus introduced a bill in March to prohibit lawmakers from working for “businesses whose primary activities involve lobbying” after Daudt accepted a position with Stateside Associates, a Virginia-based lobbying firm.
A November press release announcing Daudt’s hiring said the “role is part-time and does not involve lobbying,” which would allow him to “continue to serve in the Minnesota Legislature.” The release touted Daudt’s ability to provide the firm “with access to elected and appointed leaders in all 50 states.”
Minnesota has a law against legislators acting as lobbyists, and even prohibits legislators from registering as lobbyists until one year after they leave office. But Daudt’s situation is somewhat of a legal gray area since he isn’t lobbying directly, instead working in more of a consultancy role.
Daudt maintains that his new gig is perfectly ethical, but Munson and the New House GOP have called for an ethics investigation against their former leader.
The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a 501(c)(4) organization founded by former Daudt staffer Ben Golnik, is now sending out mailers that falsely accuse Munson of supporting efforts to defund the police through its independent expenditure committee – called the “Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund.”
“The negative mailers based on bald-faced lies have started,” Munson said in a statement posted to Facebook along with a picture of the mailer, which states that it was “prepared and paid for by the Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund.”
“These attacks are not only meant to smear me, but also send all legislators a message about staying in line and keeping quiet. I will not be intimidated. I did not run to be a career politician, so these types of threats do not work on me. Make no mistake, I will not back down. I will continue to be transparent, and call out conflicts of interest and back room deals. I will again introduce legislation making it illegal for a legislator to also work for a lobbying firm,” Munson continued.
The mailer accuses Munson of voting “against the conservative agenda” and working “with anti-police Democrats.”
Munson noted that he and some of his fellow members of the New House Republican Caucus received the highest scores in the state on Action 4 Liberty’s legislative scorecard in both 2018 and 2019.
He was also recognized by the Legislative Evaluation Assembly of Minnesota in 2019 for his conservative voting record.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Republican Party, as far as Munson knows, hasn’t provided any “mailers, phone-banking, or door-knocking” for his race, he told Alpha News.
The Minnesota GOP’s Facebook ad library shows that the party hasn’t published any ads in support of Munson, but has for other GOP-endorsed candidates.
Susan Closmore, executive director of the House Republican Caucus, was pictured last month door-knocking for unendorsed Republican candidate Bob Loonan. The Minnesota Jobs Coalition has sent out spurious mailers against Loonan’s primary opponent, Erik Mortensen, as well.
Alpha News reached out to a party spokesperson for comment on the matter, but didn’t receive a response.
A spokesperson for Daudt’s office denied any involvement with the Minnesota Republican Party’s decision to not support Munson. Daudt hasn’t taken a public position on Munson’s race, the spokesperson noted when asked if he supports Munson’s reelection.