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MNGOP governor candidate Jeff Johnson taking heat for 9/11 truther connection

"Sponsoring events and giving a platform to people who believe the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were an inside job is irresponsible and hurtful to those who lost their loved ones that day," ABM's petition says.
"Sponsoring events and giving a platform to people who believe the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were an inside job is irresponsible and hurtful to those who lost their loved ones that day," ABM's petition says.
Screengrab of Jeff Johnson

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota is petitioning to demand that Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 MNGOP gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Johnson apologize for attending a 9/11 truther event held last Friday at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

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The event, which also featured (of all people) former AM 1130 political talker Bob Davis (see an event flier listing all the participants here), was headlined by Ben Swann, a former TV anchor-turned-reporter who recently raised eyebrows with his piece "Reality Check: More Americans Are 'Rethinking' 9/11?"

In the piece, Swann raises the same questions about the allegedly mysterious collapse of the World Trade Center #7 building as those raised by Minnesota 9/11 Truth in a full-page ad taken out in City Pages last week.

Days after the 9/11 anniversary, Johnson, whose website betrays no hint of viewpoints anywhere outside the Republican mainstream, was spotted at the Humphrey event. ABM reports that he did more than just attend -- his campaign logo "was promoted on event materials, tweets from the event claimed that his campaign staffed a table in the lobby, and the candidate attended the event himself," an ABM press release says.

"The claims made at this event are an abomination to the people of Minnesota. They are insensitive to the victims of these tragedies and their families," Carrie Lucking, executive director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota, said in the release. "Jeff Johnson should be ashamed of supporting these hurtful groups, and Minnesotans deserve an apology and an explanation from this man who wants to lead our state."

For what it's worth, Johnson's appearance at the event also drew the ire of some on the right. From John Gilmore's Minnesota Conservatives blog:

What appalled me last Friday wasn't that this infection of the Minnesota Republican Party finally brought to town their own political Cirque du Soleil, it's that republican candidates who think themselves serious and reputable attended, even sponsored this crime.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson was physically present before the VIP dinner but, from what I was told, didn't actually sit down to sup with the devil. Twitter has the photos. His campaign logo was featured on the scrim in the auditorium before the main event...

I'm not like my liberal friends: I don't seek to extinguish speech with which I disagree. Let a hundred 9-11 flowers bloom. I do think, however, that lines can be drawn and cogently at that.

If you're offering yourself up for elected office as a republican in Minnesota, you have no business associating with ideas that make ourselves the murderers of ourselves, which is precisely what the Truthers believe. That you did so disqualifies you. Republicans should support anyone but them.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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