Minnesota's Republican Party is still more than $1 million in debt from past campaign spending, but that hasn't stopped the party of fiscal responsibility from dropping $150,000 on a slick new TV ad.
Coming soon to a TV near you, Minnesota GOP Chair Keith Downey stars in his own commercial lobbying to spend the state's $2 billion surplus on a $350 check for every Minnesotan.
That message directly contradicts what House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) said two weeks ago, when they told reporters half of the surplus should be spent on nursing homes, schools, and roads and bridges.
So is there a little healthy disagreement in the Republican party? Not true, says Downey.
"There are hundreds of bills in the legislature that spend money, cut taxes, all sorts of things, but until the Republican budget targets come out in a few weeks you can't make any definitive statement about what their proposal is or is not," he says.
"I think the press is trying to conjure up some conflict, and frankly, distract from the real issue, which is the Democrats raised taxes and now we have a huge surplus and they want to spend it."
What about spending money on commercials when vendors haven't been paid from the last election? That seems like an irresponsible choice.
"Actually the degree of support that we've gotten from donors from the campaign has added to our ability to reduce the debt," says Downey.
Hey, you gotta spend money to make money.
According to Downey, the ad campaign has already paid for itself with the increase in donations it brought in. He couldn't cite specific numbers, because donors can't earmark contributions, but he assured us the "Send it Back" campaign has huge support. Probably not among the vendors the GOP still owes, but still, a rousing success.
"Clearly donors are giving to the party because they support the campaign," he says.
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