Remember when Donald Trump would praise his nominees as being “right out of central casting” ?
Think back to 2018 when the Party of Trump was looking for a candidate to be Minnesota’s Eighth District Representative …. what would be the “casting call” ?
Athletic, military service, small business owner, maintain a conventional family and some community involvement might be at the top of the list … pick the right candidate and let the “consultants” tell him/her what to say.
Step right up … Pete Stauber … yeah, he didn’t play in the NHL … but the minors should count … yeah, he didn’t serve in the military, but his wife is an Iraq war veteran … yeah, he did own a sporting goods business with his brother (do not ask him about the $86,282 PPP loan that Stauber business received – it’s been forgiven), … yeah, he has five kids … yeah, he worked on city and county councils. So give Pete a lot of donor money, an endorsement from Donald Trump and let the consultants lead him to victory by putting him in a flannel shirt and create a catchy slogan — like “Our Way Of Life“.
Pete Stauber won his first congressional election in 2018 … and won again in 2020 … so would ya think that voters would know all about Pete’s background and stance on the issues that he wouldn’t need to spend a lot of money on “consultants” ? Maybe not need all that donor money ?
Well, the Stauber For Congress campaign committee is flush with cash (as of September 30th, there was $1,100,665.22 cash on hand)… and spending a lot of it on “consultants”. Some are small and local … like $51,780.81 to Troy Young’s Affirmative Solutions LLC (you might remember that Troy Young was John Kline’s spokesman.) And some are national voices … like $20,000 to David Watts who had a few questions raised when he worked on Don Bacon’s Nebraska campaign. Some are larger and local … like K2 and Co ($195,076.07) and some are large and national … like 814 Consulting ($109,368.50). NOTE : These figures only reflect payments made through September 30th.)
These payments may include some advertising work as well as providing campaign strategy … but don’t ya gotta wonder why he would still be needing those services ?
Well how about to connect with donors and if you get an “award” to promote in the process, that’s a bonus.
For example, K2 and Co. client list includes PhRMA Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America …. which appears to have a subsidiary named the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease … and what does the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease do, besides lobbying Congress, they give our awards … and as readers of the Brainerd Dispatch know, “U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Hermantown, received the Champion for Healthy Seniors Award from the Partnership to Fight Chronic Diseases. Stauber was chosen to receive this award based on his leadership in lowering the cost of prescription drugs and protecting in-home treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Hmmm … considering that K2 and Co. are now lists Wisconsin Third District candidate Derrick Van Orden as a client, don’t be surprised if he isn’t a future award winner.) Oh, it is not uncommon for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease to pay for ads in local newspapers to make sure the readers know that their Congressman was recognized for their coveted “award”… not mentioning that Big Pharma was behind it.
Another client that K2 and Co. lists is Americans For Prosperity … which is a Koch’s conservative political advocacy group … conveniently, Koch Industries has donated $10,000 directly to the Stauber campaign and has been known to pay for “independent” campaign ads directly to promote their candidates.
K2 and Co is also associated with Center of the American Experiment … a Minnesota based advocacy group that promotes expanding mining, claimed that the Minnesota public school educational system is being besieged with radical indoctrination centered on Critical Race Theory, and other issues.
So, the question for voters : Is Pete Stauber an insulated puppet for his donors … afraid to vote against their interests regardless of how Minnesota’s Eighth District would benefit or want ?
Hint : “Representative” Pete Stauber voted AGAINST HR 6833 Affordable Insulin Now Act and HR 5376 Prescription Drug Pricing Reform; Authored HRes 738 addressing schools who have implemented critical race theory; Authored HR 8928 Permitting For Mining Needs Act of 2022; and many more bills that his donors want (as no doubt encouraged by his “consultants“).
“Representative” Stauber has a track record that is getting attention … as noted in the Duluth News Tribune editorial “Stauber is no longer the same devoted representative Northeastern Minnesota first sent to D.C. on our behalf in 2018. He’s become unresponsive to constituents and the media alike. He seems to only attend events populated by supporters. This fall he declined to participate in a candidate forum co-hosted by the Duluth News Tribune and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, a forum that over a decade has become the pre-eminent election-season event for the 8th District, the best chance for voters to hear directly from candidates. This was the first time a candidate declined to participate. Stauber’s refusal to answer questions in a public setting and in the largest and most-populated city in his district seemed indicative of his disappointing but emerging party-first/constituents-second representation.“
Yep, a little different from candidate Stauber’s 2018 campaign when he earned the endorsement of the Duluth newspaper “Stauber told the News Tribune Editorial Board in July when asked to address the criticism. “I am going to support initiatives that help the 8th Congressional District. I will not blindly follow anybody. … If you think I’m (going) to Washington to vote ‘Republican good,’ ‘Democrat bad,’ I’m the wrong candidate. When you work on behalf of the party alone, which is happening, nothing gets done.”
That newspaper endorsed Stauber’s challenger, Jen Schultz for 2022 citing her “vow to represent everyone” and her track record in working with others in the Minnesota legislature.
Ya gotta wonder would Minnesota be better represented by someone who wasn’t a former athlete, receiver of PPP loans and managed by consultants and donors but instead a mom of two boys who has earned a Ph.D. in economics and is focused on healthcare economics ?