The race in House District 12B is one of the most vigorously contested in the state. Two years ago incumbent DFLer Al Doty won re-election by just 76 votes — the slimmest margin in the state. Now he faces a rematch against Republican Mike LeMieur.
Outside interest groups, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Education Minnesota, are pouring money into the race. At least eight mailings have been sent out by independent organizations attacking Doty as a tax-and-spend liberal who’s in the pocket of the teachers union. A section of his web site devoted to debunking such claims currently has 11 entries.
Republicans in the district claim that the state DFL party has purchased $40,000 in radio air time at stations in Little Falls and Brainerd. (This is likely overstating the scope of the buy: According to Little Falls Radio Corporation, which owns the town’s three radio stations, the DFL party has purchased $5,000 of air time between October 21 and Election Day.)
Republicans are also crying foul over a mailing, put out by the state DFL party, that accuses LeMieur of steering lucrative contracts to a family member while serving on the Little Falls City Council. At issue is a snow-plowing contract with LeMieur’s cousin that he voted to renew. GOP officials, including House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, of Maple Grove, and Rep. Matt Dean, of Dellwood, held a press conference yesterday to denounce the mailing.
“It was really kind of a cheap shot and was inappropriate,” Dean tells PIM. “It’s not a tickle contest and everybody understands that. But this crossed the line.”
(Charley Shaw contributed to this post.)