When is an endorsement not an ‘endorsement’?

Minnesota Tea Party Alliance

It may be splitting hairs, but the DFL party’s claim that Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson received the Tea Party endorsement is technically incorrect. But only because the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance does not make endorsements.  

Unlike labor groups, chamber groups, and other special interest organizations that do make endorsements, the Tea Party Alliance claims that it’s a grass roots education group, according to its president, Jack Rogers.

“It’s our primary responsibility to encourage voters to do the proper evaluation of the candidate,” Rogers said. “The Minnesota Tea Party does not endorse.”

But, Rogers added, “That doesn’t mean that a lot of us don’t go to work for candidates that carry out our principles,” which he defined as promoting free markets, fiscal responsibility, and limited government. Rogers made it clear that Johnson is just such a candidate.

“It’s very good,” he said of the Tea Party Alliance relationship with Johnson.  But that’s no endorsement, he stressed.

The DFL has made no small effort to tie Johnson to the tea party. In a news release, the DFL party quoted Johnson asking for endorsement at a South Metro Tea Party event in April.  “I would be truly honored to earn your support and endorsement in this race,” Johnson said in video taken at the event.  The DFL said Johnson “was endorsed by Minnesota Tea Party Alliance President Jack Rogers at a July meeting of the North Metro Tea Party.” 

To that, Rogers responded, “They make it look like a Tea Party endorsement, but Jeff Johnson is the person I’m personally going to stand behind. I try to keep my activities and activities of the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance separate.”   

The Minnesota Tea Party Alliance has a political action committee that is registered with the state. Here too, the group differs from other PACs that follow endorsement with financial support.  

The MN Tea Party PAC’s stated mission is to “build new tea party groups, host tea party events, and train/educate our grassroots activists.”  As of July 1, the PAC had $896 in cash on hand.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by David LaPorte on 09/10/2014 - 01:18 pm.

    The Tea Party is a wing of the Republican Party

    The extreme right wing, to be sure, but a wing nevertheless. They have so much influence that a Republican who doesn’t follow their dictates will find themselves facing a Tea Party-approved candidate in the next primary. This forces Republicans to take right wing positions before the primary and then try to move to the center for the general election, since extremists (from either wing) are unelectable.

    I can certainly understand why the Tea Party and the Republican Party would like some daylight between them, but it’s a trick that they’re doing with mirrors.

  2. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/10/2014 - 01:56 pm.

    Party On, Dude

    If it looks like a bag of tea, talks like a bag of tea, smells like a bag of tea, and hangs out with bags of tea, then it…simply doesn’t exist.

    I’m sorry, folks, but that’s just silly semantics. You do everything except give a formal endorsement (including ask for an endorsement), then it is in reality an implicit endorsement. No grade school playground logical gymnastics are getting you out of this one.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/10/2014 - 02:19 pm.

      Just another “pretend” party

      The real reason there is no endorsement of a candidate:
      They are not a real party, rather just the very rabid wing of Republicans.

      Some may be well-intentioned, but its more about attitude than interest.

  3. Submitted by Joe Loveland on 09/10/2014 - 05:29 pm.

    A distinction without a difference

    So they don’t “endorse” Johnson, but they “work for” Johnson.

    What an illuminating point.

  4. Submitted by Monica Millsap on 09/11/2014 - 11:26 am.


    There are plenty of groups paying big money to candidates for influence. I may be missing something, but at theend of the article, it is pointed out that the PAC here (MN Tea Party Alliance) has “$896 cash at hand.” Are we really supposed to be afraid of this group’s influence?

  5. Submitted by Michael Ernst on 09/11/2014 - 01:27 pm.

    Endorsement? Not.

    The title of this piece made me think it was going to be about Jim Knobloch’s “endorsements”:


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