by Evan Stambaugh
A Republican-aligned committee once again spent money against two Republican candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives, with both of them going on to lose to their Democratic challengers in the general election.
The Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund, an independent expenditure committee affiliated with the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, spent a combined $55,134 in TV and direct mail advertising against incumbent Rep. Erik Mortensen and newcomer Mark Bishofsky during their primary elections, according to data from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board.
Two years after spending $4,940 against Mortensen in the 2020 election, the Jobs Coalition spent $20,152 against him in this year’s midterms.
In August, Rep. Mortensen fended off a primary challenge from Bob Loonan in Minnesota House District 54A, though neither of them won the GOP’s endorsement. The incumbent Mortensen lost to Brad Tabke, a Democrat, in the general election by a 51.8% to 43.5% margin.
This year the Jobs Coalition also spent $34,982 against Bishofsky, a respiratory therapist who ran for office after he was ostensibly fired for refusing to get a mandatory COVID vaccine.
Unlike Mortensen, Bishofsky received a GOP endorsement. But he too lost to his Democratic opponent, Josiah Hill, by a 53.9% to 45.9% margin in Minnesota House District 33B.
In a Facebook post the morning after Election Day, Rep. Jeremy Munson, whom the Jobs Coalition spent money against in 2020, blasted Republican leadership for “[attacking] endorsed conservative candidates” and “bruising them in the general [election], where many lost in tight races.”
The Minnesota Jobs Coalition was funded this year primarily by $1.4 million from the Republican State Leadership Committee.
“The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is focused on one goal: winning,” the group says on its website. “We are the largest organization of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national committee whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices in all 50 states.”
Munson specifically mentioned how Rep. Tony Jurgens endorsed Democrat Judy Seeberger over Republican Tom Dippel in a crucial Minnesota Senate race. Seeberger ended up defeating Dippel by just 321 votes out of over 42,000 cast, a 50.4% to 49.6% margin. The outcome helped Democrats retake the Senate from Republicans, who are now in the minority by a single seat.
“The MN Senate was our last line of defense against massive gun control, red flag laws, major tax hikes, and electric car mandates,” Munson said.
Dippel and Bishofsky, moreover, were two of the four Republican-endorsed candidates who claimed they were cut off from party data a few weeks before the August primary elections.
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Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.
Photo “Mark Bishofsky (Right)” by Mark Bishofsky.