Hashtag fight! Luke Hellier vs. Blois Olson


Folks, we have a battle over $99 and a political speed-dating event that has turned into a hashtag war (Hashtags, in case you aren't up on the Twitter lingo, serve the same pries as tags in blogs, allowing users to filter for a specific conversation thread).

The fun and games started overnight when Luke Hellier, of Minnesota Democrats Exposed, tweeted that Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak "spent $99 traveling to DFL Gubernatorial Event in Rochester 10/21 When will he finally file his campaign comma?"

Dubbed a "speed-dating event" by the press, the DFL gathering featured clutches of voters visiting each gubernatorial hopeful, and being given 13 minutes at each candidate's station.

Rybak isn't officially running for governor. Yet. But state Republicans have been all over him for not officially announcing his plans. One of their tactics: Tracking his mileage as he moves around the state. Prior to the speed dating travel, MDE posted a letter from the state GOP to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board that figures Rybak has traveled "at least 1,919 miles" in pursuit of the governor's office, at a price tag of "at least $1,055."

Hellier, formerly a congressional campaign staffer for Rep. Michele Bachmann, kept up the drumbeat this morning on Twitter, noting that, "The law clearly states if a candidate spends in excess of $100 they must file a campaign committee."

Rybak hasn't done that yet.

Blois Olson, a vice president Tunheim Partners and a MinnPost contributor, saw Hellier's tweet and engaged. His point: Shouldn't Gov. Tim Pawlenty's not-quite-yet-announced presidential campaign be held to the same standard. 

Watch what happens to the hashtags.  They grow and grow and grow.

bloisolson @lukehellier is Pawlenty going to go back an modify his gubernatoral reports for President? #stopthesilliness

bloisolson @lukehellier how about all the trips before the PAC paid for by gubernatorial funds?

lukehellier @bloisolson Isn't that why Pawlenty is forming a PAC?

lukehellier @bloisolson And Pawlenty isn't currently running for another office. Those are two significant differences. #playbytherulesrybak

bloisolson @lukehellier #youseriouslybelievethatorisitmorefunforpartisansake?

lukehellier @bloisolson I'd have to check but I would assume all of TPaw's travel was paid for by the groups he spoke too. #Ireallyenjoylonghashtags

lukehellier @bloisolson I guess it's probably a different story if last night's travel for @mayorrtrybak was paid for by the Rochester DFL?

lukehellier The law clearly states if a candidate spends in excess of $100 they must file a campaign committee:

bloisolson @lukehellier are you implying that noTPAW? guber $$ went to natl visibility to push pres bid #againthisisthesillystuffthatdoesntmatter

lukehellier @bloisolson My understanding was that any of TPaw's national travel was paid for by the groups he spoke to.

lukehellier @bloisolson I don't think it's totally silly. The law clearly states if you spend over $100 you must file.

bloisolson @lukehellier #itsgoodtoknowthatyouresoworriedaboutthelittlethingsratherthanthebig - like the MN economy

lukehellier @bloisolson #imconcernedabouttheeconomymaybemorethanyouconsideringonatissueaftertpawunallotyourconcernwascitiesbeingabletomowthegrass

@citypages: #sickofwittyhashtagsyet?