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Continued: Minnesota marriage vote could bring down GOP legislator

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 21, 2014 - 12:48 PM

He is a longtime supporter of Bachmann, who is not seeking re-election, and of former legislator Tom Emmer, who is the front-runner in the race to replace her in the Sixth Congressional District.

Getting nasty and personal

The FitzSimmons-Lucero fight has turned nasty and personal just in the past few days.

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, a Big Lake Republican who represents FitzSimmons’ district, has not rushed to defend her fellow legislator.

“The thing people hate the most is when you campaign on one thing and then do another,” Kiffmeyer said. “It annoys them a lot, and I got a lot of phone calls from people who were really annoyed with that. It makes people feel discouraged.”

More recently, critics have raised questions about FitzSimmons’ romantic relationship with Sarah Walker, a Capitol lobbyist who served as a board member for the group that pushed to legalize same-sex marriage.

Hanover Mayor Chris Kauffman sent a letter to supporters this week, saying they are in a “heated battle for conservative values” and calling FitzSimmons a social liberal.

“Do you think it is a conflict of interest if legislators are dating lobbyists?” he asked in the letter, noting FitzSimmons’ ties to Walker.

The personal attacks caused friends to rush to the defense of FitzSimmons, a single father who never hid his relationship with Walker around the Capitol.

The personal attacks are “way over the line,” Emmer said. “People can disagree on a vote, but they cannot question David FitzSimmons’ character or integrity.”

Adding to the drama, the political arm of Voices of Conservative Women on Thursday made the unusual move of sending out a letter in support of FitzSimmons. It is the first time the group, committed to limited government and fiscal responsibly, has endorsed a man.

These next couple of days could become a turning point in FitzSimmons’ political future.

“I voted against the tax bill. I voted against the spending bills. I am a huge backer of Tom Emmer,” FitzSimmons said. “I have yet to hear any other record, or any vote, or anywhere where anyone tried to say I am not a conservative.”

On Saturday, Lucero will be the first. “Politics of the modern day,” he said in his statement, “is ripe with feelings of distrust by people toward politicians.”

 

Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

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