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Chris Christie's Visit Leads to Awkwardness Between Jeff Johnson and Mike McFadden

Chris Christie hangs out with Johnson and McFadden before things took a turn for the awk.

Chris Christie hangs out with Johnson and McFadden before things took a turn for the awk.

-- Scroll to bottom of this post to watch a live stream of this morning's 8 a.m. Dayton/Johnson debate --

Yesterday, New Jersey Governor and Chairman of the Republican Governors Association Chris Christie visited the Twin Cities to campaign with MNGOP gubernatorial challenger Jeff Johnson (and MNGOP Senate hopeful Mike McFadden) at the Global Academy public charter school in Columbia Heights.

We put McFadden's name in parentheses because his presence sorta gave off the vibe of an affection-starved friend who crashes his buddy's big date because he's got nowhere else to be.

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McFadden tagged along during a tour of the school, but things got a little uncomfortable during a news conference that concluded the campaign stop. Here's how reporters who were at the event described the scene:
-- Brian Bakst (@Stowydad) October 13, 2014 Awkward!

Take a look at the polls and you can understand why both Johnson and McFadden desperately want to benefit from whatever rub Christie can provide, even though recent polling indicates the controversial New Jersey governor's approval rating is below 50 percent in his home state.

According to a KSTP/SurveyUSA survey conducted earlier this month, Johnson trails Mark Dayton by more than 10 points and McFadden trails Al Franken by closer to 20. Keep in mind that KSTP-sponsored polls aren't exactly known to lean to the left.

With time running out to the close the gap, Johnson apparently wanted to enjoy his time in front of the cameras with Christie with McFadden stealing as little of the spotlight as possible. But still, displaying that sort of tension and disunity in public, in the presence of a bunch of reporters? That's so MNGOP.

We emailed Johnson spokesman Jeff Bakken to ask him if it's true that McFadden was barred from participating in the news conference with Christie, but he didn't respond (understandably).

Another big opportunity for Johnson to do something, anything about his deficit comes this morning, as he squares off in a one-on-one debate with Dayton in Duluth at 8 a.m. Watch the live stream of the proceedings right here (via The UpTake):



Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.