Rep. Josh Heintzeman, a Republican from the Brainerd area, went door-knocking in Shakopee Monday to rally support for Bob Loonan, who is running against incumbent Rep. Erik Mortensen in today’s GOP primary.
At one house, Heintzeman was greeted by Mortensen’s wife.
“I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Mort. I’m not trying to cause any trouble but if you do have any chance of maybe considering an alternative, I’d sure love a chance to tell my story,” Heintzeman began.
“I’ve had a chance to serve with both Mr. Loonan and Mr. Mortensen, and there’s quite a contrast. I’m willing to drive 160 miles one way, I’ll be driving back tonight, because this is a really big deal for our caucus,” he continued.
Heintzeman said when Mortensen first joined the House, he “yelled and screamed at all the Republicans,” and then “went to his office and never came back.”
This is the third primary meeting between Loonan and Mortensen, who unseated Loonan in the 2018 primary. Mortensen went on to lose the general election. In 2020, the two faced off again, this time with Mortensen winning both the primary and the general. In that race, Mortensen was the endorsed candidate, but the Minnesota House Republican Campaign Committee spent money against Mortensen.
His wife called this “a big F-U,” which could explain why Mortensen’s relationship with House Republicans was strained from the beginning.
“So I’m the endorsed candidate right now and I have a primary tomorrow. I shouldn’t even be here. My own senator — sitting senator, Republican — is spending $10,000 against me,” Heintzeman said.
Apparently he was referring to retiring Sen. Carrie Ruud, who called his comments “totally made up.”
“What a LIAR!!! He says I spent $10,000 against him — I only wish — totally made up. I support Doug Kern because Heintzeman is the worst of the swamp but I have not spent money — just a lot of time and effort. What an arrogant ?&@/! Liar Liar Liar,” she wrote on Facebook.
The interaction ended when Mortensen himself pulled into the driveway.
“Oh, my husband’s home. Would you like to meet him?” his wife said.
“Sure, I’d love to meet him,” Heintzeman said before walking away.
“Don’t you want to meet my husband? Really, you’re just going to walk away?” Mortensen’s wife said.
It’s unclear if Heintzeman knew who he was talking to, but there was a Mortensen sign in the front yard. Door-knockers also typically have access to a party app that tells them who lives at what address.