Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Jeff Johnson’s campaign aide targeted for ‘extremely sexist’ posts

Craig Westover tweetsThe Jeff Johnson campaign for governor could take it as a compliment.  

Just 48 hours after the Hennepin County commissioner won a straw poll of Republicans at the party’s central committee meeting, Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM), the aggressive DFL-support group, mined social media and found a couple of questionable posts by campaign aide Craig Westover.

The group pulled out two “extremely sexist and offensive remarks” from Facebook posts that Westover had sent almost a year ago and put them on its website with the headline “Meet Jeff Johnson’s Sexist Staffer.”  

Post one, Nov. 16, 2012: “Poor Susan Rice. She’s the first woman in Washington to get in more trouble opening her mouth for a president than Monica Lewinsky.”

Post two, Nov. 18, 2012: “I keep hearing about this fantasy football thing. My idea of fantasy football is where I am the quarterback and Angeline Jolie is the center.”

Westover composed the posts long before he joined the Johnson campaign, in fact, before Johnson had a campaign at all.

Westover did not apologize. “There’s no expectation of privacy on the Internet, there’s also no expectation of not being offended,” he said.  “What I put there is what people volunteer to follow. If they don’t like it, they can un-follow me.”

Opposition research, like searching social media, is usually aimed at candidates, not staff members. Johnson might find some comfort that research so far has turned up little from his past. Furthermore, that Westover is a target suggests Johnson has become enough of a threat in the contest to unseat Mark Dayton that ABM decided to dig for a speck of dirt.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Pat Backen on 10/30/2013 - 10:03 am.

    Junk Journalism

    I am no fan of Jeff Johnson, but please stop reporting on this dreck.

    It is not news and only reinforces this type of overreaching, grasping for straws behavior of “oppositon research”.

    I read MinnPost to avoid this type of reporting.

    • Submitted by Dan Kaufman on 10/30/2013 - 12:27 pm.

      I agree 100%

      Brucato can’t really find anything positive to say about her GOP friends, so this is the type of “reporting” she is left with. However, the state GOP is only $1.3 million in debt, so they go that going for them.

      I except better from MinnPost, otherwise why bother.

  2. Submitted by Charlie Quimby on 10/30/2013 - 11:32 am.


    This reflects well on no one but has not much to do with why I read about politics.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/30/2013 - 11:51 am.

    A speck of dirt

    Aren’t you just legitimizing this sort of thing by not just reporting on it, but by analyzing its import and giving it a good spin?

  4. Submitted by Monica Manning on 10/30/2013 - 11:58 am.

    Well said, Pat Bracken!

    I completely agree.

  5. Submitted by jody rooney on 10/30/2013 - 03:13 pm.

    You mean public behavior isn’t a comment on character?

    This isn’t real deep digging they found these comments on a media that apparently everyone has access too. To:

    1. Think those comments are appropriate as a public statement.
    2. Defend them by saying “you didn’t have to look”

    Demonstrates a break down in what is appropriate in public and what should be kept private, no understanding that objectification of women or even one particular woman is inappropriate in public, and that just looking away makes it go away. It is still there influencing similar morons to undertake what in this day and age is considered inappropriate and offensive behavior could at best be characterized as naive or arrogant rather than just plain stupid.

    This person clearly doesn’t have enough self censoring ability to stop from being snarky and publicly offensive. If I were the candidate I would ditch this bozo in a heart beat.

    Good call Ms. Brucato.

    And I actually thought the first comment was funny but not something I would say without knowing the audience. The second is way to visual to be ever considered in good taste.

    Here’s a tip for Mr. Westover if you wouldn’t say it from the podium at the White Bear Rotary Club meeting or from the speakers stand at the League of Women voters education fund raiser I wouldn’t post it.

  6. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/30/2013 - 05:25 pm.


    I agree with the previous commenters, and would add that spinning this story to suggest that Johnson is a dire threat to Dayton is a a very long reach. Rather, negative politics is SOP in both parties and needs to stop – and that starts with the media ignoring this sort of thing. Please.

  7. Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 10/30/2013 - 07:12 pm.

    No expectation of class

    We also have no expectation of class coming from Rebublican operatives.

    • Submitted by John Smith on 10/31/2013 - 07:25 pm.

      Minnpost censorship

      Funny how comments attacking Republicans are ok, but those critical of Democrats are not allowed.

Leave a Reply