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GOP hits Hortman outside her district

December 9, 2017 GMT

The GOP-aligned Minnesota Jobs Coalition House GOP chief of staff Ben Golniks old shop sent out a nasty mailer on House DFL Minority Leader Melissa Hortman with the tag: Why is Melissa Hortman enabling the sexual harassment of women?

On the other side of the mail piece, theres a photo of Hortman with Sen. Al Franken and this: Warning: Potentially Explicit Photo Inside.

The punchline? The mailer Ive only seen photos of it so far was sent to a home in the district of Rep. Nolan West. So theyre beating up on Hortman outside her district, presumably to help West. Hes the first-term Blaine Republican elected in 2016 despite Star Tribune reporting about his Facebook posts in which he celebrated the Confederate battle flag and called Abraham Lincoln the nations worst president.

The irony for Hortman? Shes the one who brought concerns of some women DFL lawmakers about harassment and gender discrimination to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, earlier this year. Daudt then scheduled mandatory sexual harassment training for the next legislative session.


Hortman also says she specifically mentioned concerns about disgraced former Rep. Tony Cornish to Daudt, but he says she never mentioned Cornish. Hortman is also an employment lawyer, so she knows the issue. As Karl Rove taught us, hit your opponents perceived strengths and turn them into weaknesses.

Ruthless, shameless, brilliant? Perhaps all three.

Clark in for AG

Returning to last weeks subject of the attorney general race: St. Paul City Attorney Sam Clark, who was state director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, is in, with an official announcement this week. Expect some big local names in law enforcement to back him.

Other DFL candidates include state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center; former state Rep. Ryan Winkler; progressive attorney and activist Matt Pelikan; and Mike Rothman, who recently resigned as commerce commissioner.

Given the strong, crowded field of men, you have to think Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, might have an edge.

But Katharine Tinucci, DFL operative and partner at a public affairs firm, said theres a strong movement in the DFL to see a person of color on the ticket. Right now [Clark] is the candidate in the best position to bring racial diversity to the statewide ticket, she said in an e-mail.

J. Patrick Coolican 651-925-5042 Twitter: @jpcoolican