A national conservative organization has pulled its endorsements of two Minnesota lawmakers for their involvement in Rep. Erik Mortensen’s departure from the New House Republican Caucus.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that YAL has officially removed Reps. Cal Bahr and Jeremy Munson from our Hazlitt Coalition of liberty legislators,” Ted Patterson, director of public policy for Young Americans for Liberty, said in an email this week.
Munson and Bahr are both members of the New House Republican Caucus, a rogue group of conservative legislators who broke from the main GOP caucus in 2018. Mortensen, a first-term legislator, was a member of the caucus up until last week, when House Speaker Melissa Hortman was informed that Mortensen “will no longer be a part of the New House Republican Caucus.”
Mortensen told Alpha News that he was removed from the caucus for “pulling back the curtain and showing Minnesotans what actually happens inside the Capitol.”
“They begged me to stop shining a spotlight on the RINOs in St. Paul and threatened to kick me out if I failed to obey their orders,” he said.
Munson claimed that while there were “many conversations” with Mortensen and “consensus among the other members” about his approach to lawmaking, there was never a formal vote to kick him out.
“The confrontational political model does not work when attacks are launched from within the Legislature and specifically does not work when the attacks are launched at the most conservative legislators whom other members of our caucus are working with to build and grow our conservative movement,” Munson said.
Patterson called it “unacceptable” and “counterproductive” to publicly shame a fellow conservative solely because of “differences in tactical strategy.”
“Over the past week, Reps. Cal Bahr and Jeremy Munson orchestrated the public removal of fellow Hazlitt Rep. Erik Mortensen from the New House Republican Caucus for purely political reasons. Bahr and Munson did not like how Rep. Mortensen attacked other Republicans who refused to stand up for liberty and force roll call votes in the Legislature,” he wrote in an email obtained by Alpha News.
“Reps. Cal Bahr and Jeremy Munson reject the confrontational model and instead favor cultivating relationships with other legislators on the inside at the expense of standing with their fellow Hazlitt member, Rep. Erik Mortensen,” he added.
The Hazlitt Coalition is a network of “178 liberty legislators from 37 states” who receive support from Young Americans for Liberty staffers. Munson and Bahr are no longer listed as members.
“Had Rep. Mortensen sold out his principles and voted incorrectly on important liberty issues? Not at all. The sole reason for publicly removing Mortensen was based on tactics, not principles,” said Patterson. “This incident simply plays into the hands of establishment forces who would like nothing more than for our liberty legislators to be divided against one another.”