In Wednesday’s Star Tribune, sports columnist Jim Souhan pilloried Rep. Dean Urdahl for purportedly helping to kill the Vikings stadium bill.
“I can respectfully disagree with politicians who take consistent, principled, stands against stadiums,” Souhan wrote at the close of his column. “Those like Urdahl who shamelessly pander to the simple-minded people should not be taken seriously. Next time you ask a question about the stadium, Mr. Urdahl, please get help from someone with a better grasp of stadium politics, like, oh, a Kardashian.”
The only problem with Souhan’s contemptuous critique? Urdahl voted for the stadium bill during Monday evening’s House committee hearing where the stadium bill was voted down by a 9-6 margin. In other words, the entire premise of Souhan’s hatchet job is erroneous.
At issue is a seemingly critical question that Urdahl asked at the beginning of the hearing: “Why should the state of Minnesota contribute to a stadium for a billionaire owner?”
But Urdahl was merely putting forth the question that he most often hears from constituents. In fact, he spoke in favor of the stadium bill on multiple occasions during the hearing.
“The intent of asking the question was simply to allow the Vikings the opportunity to get that on the record,” Urdahl tells PIM. “I don’t care if people think that my constituents have a third-grade mentality, as implied by Jim. This is the question that I get asked all the time by people. So I thought, as a representative, I’ll ask the question.”
Souhan is not the only individual to make the mistake. Tuesday’s Star Tribune used the Urdahl quote in a news story without explaining that he supported the bill. Urdahl says he’s been erroneously targeted for calls and emails by SaveTheVikes.org as a stadium opponent. He’s received more than 200 nasty emails from Vikings supporters since Monday’s vote.
“They are attacking one of the best friends the Vikings have,” Urdahl says.