The Column

Lettermandate: Rep Peggy Bennett recites fake top ten list to Freeborn County GOP picnic

Content provided by Bluestem Prairie and republished with permission. For more in-depth news from Greater Minnesota, check out Bluestemprairie.com.

Minnesota State Representative Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, campaigns online under the slogan of “People Before Politics” and a public persona who will:

That’s not the person who showed up at the Freeborn County Republican Summer Picnic on Monday.

Instead of Everybody’s Favorite Elementary Teacher, Bennett put in an appearance as Your Bitter Aunt Who Fills Your Inbox with Nastygrams long discredited by Snopes and other fact-checking sites. A DFL tracker audiotaped her sharing a staple of ultra-partisan sniping, a piece examined in the Snopes article, Lettermandate Rumor: David Letterman presented a ‘Top Ten Reasons to Vote Democrat’ list.

The piece equates the freedom to marry the person one loves with the ability to marry a German Shepherd, the notion that immigration reform would take Social Security away from those who paid into it, and other non sequiturs that would be comic, save for the fact that they’re presented as “accurate.”

Among Republican friends, Bennett shares what she thinks of her Democratic constituents (transcript of audio below as Bennett reads the list, while providing her own side commentary; Bluestem has placed the latter in bold). Her remarks begin with the reading of the list, so we’re not sure how she introduced this loving (but definitely not-Letterman) portrait of the loyal opposition:

I vote Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I can even marry my German Shepherd.
Number 9 I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies profits are 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon 15% is not.
Number 8, I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending money I earned than I would. Let me tell you, I heard that over and over again when I was sitting on the floor last year. You’re not spending enough, we have a surplus, they would spend it all over time
Number 7, I vote Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
Number 6, I vote Democrat because I’m way to irresponsible to own a gun and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves, I’m also thankful that I have a 9-1-1 service that gets the police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.
Number 5, I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about billions of babies being aborted, so long as we can keep Death Row inmates alive and comfy.
Number 4, I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free healthcare, education, and social security benefits and we should take away social security benefits from those who paid into it.
Number 3, I vote Democrat because businesses should not be allowed make profits for themselves, they need to break even and give the rest to away to the government for redistribution as the Democratic Party sees fit.
Number 2, I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to re-write the constitution every few days to see the fringe groups who would never get their agenda’s past the voters. And last but not least,
Number 1, I vote Democrat because I think it’s better to take pay billions of dollars in oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own oil because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, or fish here in America. We don’t care about beetles, gophers, or fish in the oil countries, just as long as they’re in America. So there ya go, the top ten reasons to Vote Democrat.

Here’s the audio:

Perhaps Kurt Daudt can let Bennett know that Minnesota doesn’t have a Death Row–or perhaps one shouldn’t sweat the details when choosing to let hyper-partisanship all hang out.

Is it wise to mock Democrats in Minnesota House District 27A?

Revealing her sarcastically nasty partisan side might not be the wisest move for the retired elementary teacher and freshman state lawmaker, since the swing district includes a lot of Democratic voters. In 2014, US Senator Al Franken received 54.06 percent of the vote; Congressman Tim Walz earned 59.47 percent; Governor Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith received a plurality of 49.84 percent, and so on.

On the other hand voters selected three Republican-endorsed candidates, including state Supreme Court Justice candidate Michelle MacDonald, Secretary of State wannabe Dan Severson and Bennett. Her first term incumbent opponent, Shannon Savick, stumbled badly in the race.

The district swung more heavily Democratic in the 2012 presidential year, election results reveal. President Barack Obama captured 55.37 percent of the vote, while United States Senator Amy Klobuchar and Walz crushed with 68.32 percent and 63.80 percent respectively. State senator Dan Sparks–on the ballot again this year–nabbed 67.00 percent of the vote, while Savick received 47.70 percent of the vote in the three-way race to defeat one-term incumbent Rich Murray.

The Austin Herald reports that outside spending was heavy in the district:

The district has historically been a swing district, and in 2014 more than $377,000 in independent expenditures were reported for [and against] Bennett and DFLer Shannon Savick of Wells in the 10 months leading up to the election.

Bennett is being challenged by Riverland Community College Dean Gary Schindler. Bennett enjoys a fundraising cash-on-hand advantage over Schindler, though the $19,854.26 to $8,403.11 split isn’t insurmountable if the race heats up.

This isn’t the first time we’ve caught Bennett sharing mean-spirited social media fodder, as we noted last summer in Rejected by Willmar voters but shared by Draz & Bennett: Bob Enos continues anti-refugee rants. Given her vote on an amendment to conduct an expensive witchhunt of an audit of non-profits assisting refugees (p. 7828, Journal of the House), perhaps Bennett could sit down with St Cloud area Republican Jim Knoblach for a little education about this issue; Willmar Republican Dave Baker might also fill her in as well.

Photo: Peggy Bennett and her Shiloh Shepherd Coulter, who can read so don’t write mean things online (Via Bennett campaign website, top); 2016 DFL opponent and community college dean Gary Schindler (via Austin Herald, bottom).

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