State Rep. Connie Doepke is distributing a mailing that includes a quote from U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen praising her political service. “I wish I could have served with Connie in the Minnesota House, she’s a great Representative and a proven leader,” the blurb reads. The piece also refers to Paulsen as a “long time supporter” of Doepke.
The only problem: Paulsen is backing David Osmek, the GOP-endorsed candidate in Senate District 33. Paulsen issued a statement pointing out that he wasn’t consulted about the mailing. “I want to make it clear I did not approve this mailing or quote and I support the endorsed Republican candidate, Dave Osmek, in Senate District 33,” he said.
Osmek sent out a statement blasting the Doepke mailing. “I am appalled and disappointed that Connie Doepke and her campaign have stooped so low as to concoct a fictitious quote, while implying an endorsement, using Congressman Paulsen as a prop,” Osmek said. “These kinds of deceptive campaign tactics have no place in this race and are beneath the dignity of a sitting state representative.”
Doepke responded with her own statement explaining that the photo was taken at the Mound Centennial Parade in July with the understanding that it would be used in campaign literature and that the Paulsen quote was taken from a public statement previously made by the congressman. “As a seated legislator I clearly understand the difference between an endorsement and a public statement from a longtime supporter,” Doepke said. “This piece of literature does not in any way state that Congressman Paulsen is endorsing my candidacy.”
The campaign dust-up is not the first controversy in the closely watched GOP primary contest. Last week Doepke took umbrage (subscriber only) at campaign pieces distributed by the Freedom Club State PAC that misleadingly suggested that she voted to waste taxpayer dollars on bird habitats in South America.
Here’s the Paulsen mailing: