Jeremy Munson, The Republican House Mafia & The Primary Race In 23B

The Republican endorsement means something only if the candidate meets with the approval of Republican House leadership. If you think your voice matters to them, think again.

Jeremy Munson won the Republican endorsement for House District 23B by 79% on the first ballot. The seat is an open one due to the resignation of Rep. Tony Cornish, who was caught up in the sexual harassment panic that swept the nation.

The man Munson soundly defeated, Scott Sanders, filed for the primary on the last possible day. Speaker Kurt Daudt and the House Republican mafia are behind his campaign, again proving that if Republican rank and file put forth a candidate they don’t like, there’s no bottom to the depths they’ll go to thwart their choice.

The mafia did the same thing when Cal Bahr won the endorsement against creepy incumbent Tom Hackbarth, the guy who stalked his girlfriend while carrying a concealed weapon. Hackbarth had agreed to abide by the endorsement but was easily convinced to renege on his promise by Daudt, who knows something about personal dishonesty.

Both Munson and Bahr were supported by conservative, small-government grassroots organizations. In other words, candidates not approved of by what some members call the “House management” will be actively opposed regardless of the electoral consequences.

There will now be a primary on January 29th, with the special election slated for February 12th. Melissa Wagner is the DFL endorsed candidate who is trying to pretend she has something called “rural values.” Whatever you can say about the DFL, they most certainly aren’t the dumbest Democrats in the nation.

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Sanders promptly mailed a letter to those in the district who vote by mail, insisting he was a credible candidate and asking them to disregard their own party’s endorsement. The letter is so poorly written it could only have come from the abject House communications department.

In fact, at one point Sanders talks about “growing paychecks and job opportunities,” almost the identical phrase used in Daudt’s press release praising President Trump’s decision to allow renewal of Twin Metals mineral leases on the Iron Range. Daudt, remember, called for Trump to leave the race after the calculated media hit job of the Access Hollywood tape.

Sanders also was quick to send out direct mail that obviously had to have been created long before he filed to compete in the primary. We don’t know who did that piece but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the 1858 Group, a subset of grifters in our local swamp.

The laugh out loud tag line in the piece was “He’s one of us.” No, he’s a creature of the incompetent House mafia whose only demonstrable skill set is advancing their own interests, which most certainly should not be confused with political competence.

Sue Jeffers said on her radio show yesterday that Sanders “was being used.” Clearly. The only question is whether willingly or unknowingly. I think I know the answer.

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Strikingly, the House mafia’s decision to go all in on a spoiler candidate is taken in the teeth of widespread endorsements by well known Republican candidates, including Jeff Johnson, Keith Downey, Matt Dean, Jim Hagedorn, Eric Lucero, Tim Miller, Steve Drazkowski and others. This is the state of Republicans in Minnesota: an entrenched group of not particularly talented establishment types in the House leading the charge behind the scenes against their own endorsed candidate because he’s not seen as one of their guys, malleable and subservient.

Daudt and his  team seem sanguine about the possibility of losing the seat outright. What more does one need to know about motive?

Senator Tina Smith has been out door knocking for Wagner, doing her part for the DFL effort to pick off a previously red House seat. Smith’s debut as Minnesota’s junior senator has been shrewd, professional and effective, even without the fawning coverage from her allies in the media. The district should stay red but so should have Alabama in its last senatorial election. The House mafia is doing the same type of damage that Steve Bannon and others did in Alabama, ironic given their loathing of Bannon. Who’s going tell them they are one with him?

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You won’t read this sort of coverage anywhere else even though most local political reporters have heard versions of what is set forth. No one will go on the record and there’s no paper trail in such a short time to suggest interference by the House mafia with the voters in 23B. This makes it hard to cover in the traditional journalistic sense. Perhaps after this column it won’t be so hard and Republicans across Minnesota, not just in 23B, will learn what “their” leadership in the House is actually up to.

Minnesota Republicans have to be honest with themselves but like all things Minnesotan, honesty is hard to come by. Activists and regular voters deserve to know what is going on. The inside scoop shouldn’t be reserved for insiders or those, like me, to whom they speak. 

What is apparent is that Republicans in House District 23B should support endorsed candidate Jeremy Munson. If the House mafia cuts down or undercuts the choice of Republicans, we can look forward only to the same failed leadership on display last session.

A Munson victory January 29th will tell our own swamp that their days are numbered.

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In addition to Alpha News, John Gilmore is also a contributor to The Hill. He is the founder and executive director of Minnesota Media Monitor.™ He blogs at and is on Twitter under @Shabbosgoy. He can be reached at Wbua@nycunarjfza.pbz.

Photo credit: Mankato Times

John Gilmore

John Gilmore is an author, freelance writer & former opinion columnist for Alpha News. He blogs at & is @Shabbosgoy on Twitter