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Why won’t Jeff Johnson come clean about Tea Party endorsement?

Jeff Johnson, MPR Capitol View

Jeff Johnson, MPR Capitol View

Today Jeff Johnson flatly denied asking for the Tea Party’s endorsement in his bid for Governor even though the facts show he directly asked for their support earlier this year.

At a news conference, Johnson denied that he has ever asked for an endorsement from the Tea Party. However, several news accounts and video from a Tea Party meeting clearly show Johnson directly asked for – and received – the endorsement from the Tea Party earlier this year. Why won’t he come clean with Minnesota voters about his ties to the Tea Party?

After spending the pre-convention and primary wooing the Tea Party and embracing their extreme agenda by calling himself a proud member of the Tea Party, attending Tea Party meetings with presentations comparing income taxes to slavery and saying that he would, “go all Scott Walker on Minnesota,” Johnson has been trying to run away from them. Just after the primary Johnson appeared on KSTP’s “At Issue” and had this exchange with the Tom Hauser:

Hauser: Are you now or have you ever been a formal member, if there is such a thing, of the Tea Party [Johnson, KSTP “At Issue” interview, 8/17/14]

Johnson: (chuckling) No, but I have been to Tea Party meetings and I welcome Tea Party support. [Johnson, KSTP “At Issue” interview, 8/17/14]

That’s quite a turn from what he was saying less than 6 months ago when he told the South Metro Tea Party:

“There is this perception that the media has created that Tea Parties are kind of wacko, and we are not. And I say ‘we’, and I proudly say ‘we’.” [South Metro Tea Party, 4/22/14]

Today he flatly denied ever asking for the Tea Party’s endorsement, even though he told the South Metro Tea Party:

“I just ask that you give me a close look, because I think that I may be your guy, and I would be truly honored to earn your support and endorsement in this race.” [South Metro Tea Party, 4/22/14]

“Jeff Johnson is showing his true colors in his attempt to rewrite history,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “Johnson not only asked for the Tea Party endorsement, he worked hard for it by embracing their extreme agenda, attending Tea Party meetings comparing income taxes to slavery and promising to ‘go all Scott Walker’ on Minnesota. Why is he trying so hard to deny it now?”

Johnson was endorsed by Minnesota Tea Party Alliance President Jack Rogers at a July meeting of the North Metro Tea Party. In March he attended the Red Wing Tea Party’s “St. Patty’s Day Event” where part of the agenda was a presentation called, “Slavery, Taxes and You!” that equates income taxes with the slavery of African Americans.

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