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.
MNGOP Chair Keith Downey optimistic despite bleak polling, finances
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:
Final segment of Christie visit is NJ Gov and Jeff Johnson only newser. McFadden folks visibly irritated
Little behind scenes kerfuffle @ GOP campaign event at Global Academy. Senate candidate McFadden NOT included at podium w/ Christie, Johnson-- Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) October 13, 2014
Jeff Johnson campaign spox said they were happy to have McFadden for day's photo op w/ Gov Christie. But was NOT welcomed at joint news conf-- Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) October 13, 2014
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.