Madia campaign volunteer is so totally busted

We know campaigns are getting dirty when volunteers start stealing. Or so we are led to believe. Erik Paulsen, the Republican running for the Third District seat (left open by retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad), has it right. As his campaign spokeswoman said, it's become "Minnesota Mean". But maybe what his spokeswoman didn't realize is that we've always lived in Minnesota Mean: we use nasty passive tactics behind the other person's back and run for cover when we get busted.

Ashwin Madia, the Democrat running for the open seat, issued an apology through a press release Saturday after one of his volunteers was caught on camera stealing Paulsen campaign signs from a roadside in Maple Grove. Public embarrassment is hard. Watch the video after the jump.

According to the Star Tribune story on the political drama, Paulsen's campaign couldn't forgive Madia until he gave them a personal apology. This is a tough pill to swallow.

"Bottom line is, it's outrageous," said Stacey Johnson, Paulsen's communications director, who noted that Ashwin Madia's campaign issued an apology by press release. "This isn't Minnesota Nice; this is Minnesota mean."

In reply to a media query, Madia campaign manager Stuart Rosenberg issued a statement that apologizes for the incident and says that staffers have been reminded not to touch Paulsen signs.

Hey, at least Madia can claim she was a clueless volunteer, even though she is the wife of the communications director. At least Madia wasn't busted for stealing Paulsen's campaign literature and swapping it for his own. Phyllis Kahn could teach him a thing or two about that Democratic tactic.

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