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Home / On the Campaign Trail / GOP is playing hardball with Independence Party in legislative races too
Minnesota Republicans have strongly criticized Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner. But the Republicans are also aggressively taking on the IP in legislative races.

GOP is playing hardball with Independence Party in legislative races too

Bert Pexsa

Bert Pexsa

The Republican Party has criticized Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner at every turn this year. Most recently, the party came out swinging after former GOP Gov. Arne Carlson gave Horner his endorsement on Monday.

But Horner isn’t the only IP candidate that the GOP views as a threat in this year’s general election. Independence Party candidate Bert Pexsa on Monday survived a legal challenge by a Republican who wanted to have him removed from the November ballot in the race for the open seat in District 11B.

The legal challenge arose from Pexsa mistakenly filing as an “Independent Party” rather than an “Independence Party” candidate. Todd County resident Harlan Clark brought the lawsuit against the Todd and Douglas county auditors after they allowed Pexsa to amend his filing. The Supreme Court on Monday threw out Clark’s case.

Kari-Johnson Robinson, an Independence Party spokeswoman, said the case was motivated by Republicans. The Pierce County Herald reported that Clark’s wife ran unsuccessfully in 2004 as a Republican against Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba, DFL-Long Prairie.

“The Republican action represents the most cynical form of politics. They cared more about destroying and removing opposition rather than competing with it,” Robinson said.

Now that Otremba is retiring, the GOP views the district as a prime takeover opportunity. GOP presidential nominee John McCain beat Democratic President Obama there in 2008 by 12 percentage points.

Pexsa, a farmer and accountant from Miltona, is running against Republican Tea Party activist Mary Franson and DFLer Amy Hunter.


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