Outsiders vs Establishment: Tuesday Republican Primary Special Election Preview

The Republican primary voters will choose between conservative Mora teacher Ayrlahn Johnson and farmer Nathan Nelson.

Nathan Nelson vs Ayrlahn Johnson

On Tuesday, March 5th, voters in 11B (Pine and Kanabec Counties) will choose the Republican nominee who will face Democrat and Hinckley City Council member Tim Burkhardt in the general election on March 19th.

The Republican primary voters will choose between conservative Mora teacher Ayrlahn Johnson and farmer Nathan Nelson.

Nathan Nelson received the GOP endorsement in a very controversial convention. there has been tension between minority leader Kurt Daudt and the new conservative New House Republican Caucus.

Allies of Kurt Daudt have been attempting to pass resolutions prohibiting the endorsement of any candidate unless they pledge not to associate with the New House Republican Caucus. So far only Ottertail and Pine Country Republicans have passed the Daudt backed resolutions. The resolutions are inaccurate since the Republican Party of Minnesota only recognizes the political committee of the Old House Republican Caucus, not the actual legislative caucus.

The Pine County resolution was a major catalyst for conservative activist and teacher Ayrlahn Johnson to challenge Nathan Nelson in the primary despite lacking formal Republican party endorsement.

Alpha News has learned that the Republican Party of Minnesota, likely using funding from the House Republican Campaign Committee has so far mailed two pieces of literature encouraging voters to support Nathan Nelson.

Staff for Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus has also been door knocking for Nathan Nelson including Maureen Watson and Minnesota Senate Director of Public Affairs Bill Walsh.

Ayrlahn Johnson hopes he can overcome the lack of establishment support by running as a conservative alternative. On his website, he contrasts his positions with Nelson by saying

“My opponent seems like a nice guy, but brags about his relationships with politicians like Democrat Tony Lourey. The problem with politics in this state is that the politically connected work together to tax us more and spend every penny they can get their hands on. We can’t afford another moderate Republican. I’m going to fight against that because I believe that’s what the people of this district want.”

Additionally, Johnson has signed a pledge not to raise taxes.