Not only is this a recount battle for the governor’s office, but now it’s also a retweet battle.
DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a favorite target of the Minnesota Republican Party, is coming under fire from former Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer for retweets on his Twitter account.
She is calling them “deeply inappropriate and highly partisan.”
Kiffmeyer alleged that his tweets are being posted on his “official” Twitter account, but that’s not correct. They are being posted on his personal account — which does identify him as the secretary of state — but that’s linked to his political campaign site.
The official secretary of state Twitter account is different and controlled by Ritchie’s communications chief, John Aiken.
In any event, Thursday about midday, Ritchie retweeted an earlier retweet by Sen. Al Franken’s chief recount lawyer, Marc Elias.
In that first retweet, Elias — himself retweeting a tweet by MPR’s Capitol reporter Tom Scheck — posted a comment by former Sen. Norm Coleman’s lawyer, Fritz Knaak, about a potential Tom Emmer-Mark Dayton recount. Knaak said on an MPR show that GOPer Emmer’s approximate 9,000-vote deficit is a “mighty steep hill to climb.”
Retweeting is an action that is generally meant to promote the content of that original item by having it echo through the Twittersphere.
Ritchie also retweeted a St. Paul Pioneer Press story that also asserted the difficulty of Emmer flipping the election results via a recount.
Kiffmeyer conducted a news conference this afternoon and issued a release this afternoon saying in part: “It is clear that Ritchie has lost the ability to remain neutral and objective … Can you imagine a referee in the NFL publicly stating that the Vikings have no chance in a game he will be officiating in a few days? It is incomprehensible and Ritchie’s conduct is way out of bounds.”
Ritchie, who was re-elected Tuesday, is a progressive DFLer. While Republican activists have blamed him for contributing to the outcome of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount, the judges on the State Canvassing Board who worked with him — including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson — praised Ritchie and his staff for their work on that lengthy process. Of course, the outcome of the election was upheld by a trial court and the Supreme Court — eight judges, four of whom were appointed by Republicans, two by Democrats, and two by Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura.
In response to the Kiffmeyer charges, John Aiken, Ritchie’s spokesman, said: “This office is not going to respond to partisan attacks … We remain focused on the potential recounts” in a handful of legislative races and the governor’s race, he said.