On Tuesday, Mike McFadden cruised to victory in his Republican U.S. Senate primary, paving the way for him to face Al Franken this November.
But during a speech to the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce the next day, McFadden offered up the first gaffe of the general campaign.
It came in response to a question put to McFadden by a reporter. The Star Tribune explains what happened next:
Under questioning from a local reporter, McFadden initially said he would support a higher gasoline tax if revenues were cut elsewhere, so that the total amount of taxes from all sources would not rise.We reached out to McFadden spokesman Tom Erickson and asked, what happened?
"Yeah, as long as it was revenue-neutral so that in the aggregate there's not a tax increase to the American public," McFadden said in response to the question.
He took another question on a different topic and left with a pair of campaign staffers. Seconds later he reappeared and addressed reporters again.
"I just want to reiterate that I will not support raising the gas tax," McFadden said. A reporter then said, "I'm sorry, I thought you said you would as long as there was a corresponding decrease ..."
"No, I won't," McFadden interjected.
The reporter then said, "No support? So how would you ..."
A McFadden staffer jumped in and said, "We gotta go."
"Mike isn't a polished politician who uses a script of poll-tested talking points like Senator Franken does," Erickson replied. "Sometimes he misspeaks, and that's what happened yesterday."
We followed up by asking if it is indeed the case that McFadden opposes a gas tax increase no matter what.
"Right," Erickson said. "[McFadden] does not support it."
Sure, it might not have been the best way for McFadden to kick off his general election campaign. But then again, perhaps Minnesota voters don't mind flip-flopping. After all, Mark Dayton has made an art form out of it of late.