In the news: Politico and Jennifer Carnahan

I spoke to Politico about Jennifer Carnahan’s candidacy for Congress in Minnesota’s First Congressional District.

But Carnahan resigned the Minnesota Republican chair position last summer amid a scandal that began when a donor got charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking. She’s starting her Hill outreach early: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed to POLITICO that he and Carnahan spoke by phone this week, a day after Hagedorn’s Tuesday memorial service in Virginia.

Whether that effort gets her past the GOP’s privately held anxiety over her checkered record is another matter.

“I think she has a lot of unresolved political baggage that will put the congressional district in play for the Democrats,” said Michael Brodkorb, a former deputy chair of the Minnesota GOP who also spoke out after her resignation. He added that a Carnahan bid “will also bring an unnecessary level of drama and resurface some unresolved issues” that the party would otherwise like to leave in the past.

Click here to read the complete story from Politico.

In the news: Republican Party of Minnesota Precinct Caucus Data

The Brainerd Dispatch published an extensive story regarding the ongoing controversy about the accuracy of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s precinct caucus data. The story references my tweets which first reported about the issues.

Hann said the errors came from the mistaken inclusion of attendees of previous caucuses in the data by those leading the basic political organization units, or BPOUs — the lowest level of party political organization. Delegate and attendee information from those found to be erroneous were in the process of being corrected, Hann said Feb. 15.

State Party Chairman David Hann acknowledged errors in caucus data in a statement last month after former GOP operative Michael Brodkorb noted a major discrepancy in the number of reported caucus attendees (35,196) and the number of people who voted in the straw poll for governor (17,801).

Hann said the errors came from the mistaken inclusion of attendees of previous caucuses in the data by those leading the basic political organization units, or BPOUs — the lowest level of party political organization. Delegate and attendee information from those found to be erroneous were in the process of being corrected, Hann said Feb. 15.

Click here to read the complete story from the Brainerd Dispatch.

In the news: Issues with Republican Precinct Data

I spoke with the Minnesota Reformer about integrity issues with the precinct caucus data from the Republican Party of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Republican Party is confronting discrepancies in key data from its recent precinct caucuses, creating chaos even as local conventions are supposed to begin Friday.

Some candidates for governor and secretary of state are calling for an audit and postponement of the party conventions while the data is sorted out.

Former GOP operative Michael Brodkorb said the state party released a new batch of data to campaigns on Friday showing there were 35,196 caucus attendees, but with 99% of precincts reporting, only 17,801 people voted in the Feb. 1 straw ballot for governor, prompting campaigns to question the results.

Normally, the numbers of caucus attendees and straw poll voters are comparable.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Brodkorb said in an interview. “It’s not a one-off.”

The disarray has to be sorted out quickly because local conventions are supposed to start soon. Attendees at those conventions will determine who will be delegates to the state GOP convention in May, when the party will gather to endorse a candidate for governor and other statewide offices.

Shortly after Brodkorb tweeted Saturday about the issue, Lucas Baker, political director for the state Republican Party, sent an email to candidates and campaigns acknowledging the problem with their precinct caucus data, and saying they were looking into it, Brodkorb said.

State Republican party officials have not returned a phone call seeking comment.

Click here to read the complete story from the Minnesota Reformer.

In the news: Extremism inside the Republican Party

I spoke to Politico about how extremism has become more mainstream inside the Republican Party, especially in the aftermath of the attacks on the United States Capitol.

Fully two-thirds of Republicans say they don’t view the riot at the Capitol as an attack on government, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. And though Republicans largely disapprove of the actions of those who forced their way into the Capitol, according to a CBS News poll this week, they were more likely to describe what happened that day as an act of “patriotism” or “defending freedom” than an insurrection.

“Extremism has become somewhat mainstream inside the party now,” said Michael Brodkorb, a former deputy chair of the Republican Party in Minnesota, where Republicans are hosting a vigil for Jan. 6 defendants in rural Aitkin County. “What has occurred over the last few years is that the party apparatus has been soiled a bit by a very extremist, militant element inside the party that is just simply dangerous.”

He said, “It’s becoming harder to distinguish these people from the rank-and-file members … It’s just appalling. And it should be scary.”

Click here to read the complete story from Politico.