Joe Bodell over at Minnesota Progressive Project has been scouring the just-released end-of-2010 campaign finance and spending reports from the Minnesota elections and discovers one of the lesser-known money players may have had a big role in the surprising Repub success in taking over the state House of Representatives.
While most money-watchers had their eyes on the governor’s race, which was certainly the marquee match for the year in Minnesota, Bodell notes the “ruthless efficiency with which the Freedom Club State PAC spent over a million dollars to target and defeat many of the DFLers necessary for the Republican Party to take over the Minnesota Legislature.”
Legislative races don’t generate expensive TV ads. This is the beneath-the-radar level where the wording, testing, printing and mailing or hand-delivering of leaflets can tip the balance, and probably did considering how many very close legislative races the Repubs won. Bodell’s post doesn’t emphasize this, but the Freedom Club focused on races for the House and didn’t participate in races for the Senate, where the Repubs pulled off an even bigger surprise.
“FCSPAC contributed to the campaigns of 33 Republican candidates, including statewide candidates and those running for the Legislature. On the Independent Expenditure side, FCSPAC targeted a ton of DFLers with negative poll-tested mailings: David Bly. Tim Faust. Patti Fritz. Gail Kulick Jackson. Sandy Masin. Will Morgan. Mike Obermueller. Paul Rosenthal. Maria Ruud (to the tune of more than $35,000 and yes, you read that right; they really hate Maria Ruud that badly). The list goes on, and almost every single one of the targeted DFLers was defeated in November with the Freedom Club’s help.”
This post has been updated to fix the spelling of state Rep. Patti Fritz (who, although she was targeted by FCSPAC, was nontheless reelected). It has also been revised to reflect that FCSPAC focused on House races, not Senate.