Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jeff Johnson fundraiser with Jason Lewis


I got caught in last night's torrential downpour on the way to O'Gara's, the venue for the Jeff Johnson for Attorney General fundraiser. (It stopped raining as soon as I got inside O'Gara's front door.) Beasley's Big Band was cookin' in the Shamrock Room — I would have loved to hear more, maybe another night (future MOB event?).

I was one of a few of Jeff's close personal friends from Plymouth in attendance, but I couldn't beat the guy who claimed, "I knew Jeff before he fixed up his house." I represented the MOB in my official MOB t-shirt, along with fellow Friend-of-Jeff, MOBster, and Minnesota Senate District 45 candidate Derek Brigham. Some didn't quite know what to make of my Brigham-designed MOB logo shirt ("We Know Stuff"), others were kind enough to say that they read this blog once in a while.

The $50 fundraiser was actually a combo platter: emcee David Strom of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota humorously introduced Johnson as "the guy who will be introducing Jason Lewis." Johnson told his donors that he would not be "going after" any particular industry as AG, in the political pattern of past DFL state attorneys general, but instead will "go after any industries or individuals who break the law." This is a familiar theme to viewers of last Friday's Almanac or anyone along Jeff's outstate road trip route.

Lewis announced that he will make his highly-anticipated return to the air Monday as Minnesota's Mr. Right, weekdays on KTLK-FM from 5:00 - 7:00 pm (eventually 4:00 - 7:00 pm as permitted by the station's agreements with the Sean Hannity Show, according to Lewis). Lewis, looking fit and energized, heartily endorsed Johnson and graciously mingled with the crowd. Clearly back in his blazing saddle and up-to-speed on Minnesota politics, Lewis will unabashedly and unapologetically delight conservatives and occasionally be at odds with the Republican Party. Politicians and activists alike in attendance welcomed Lewis's return to the team like the Minnesota Twins must have welcomed home Dave Winfield or Paul Molitor: eager to see his 3000th career hit right here in Minnesota.

Strom and his wife, radio co-host, and co-blogger Margaret Martin were sounding like radio insiders: "Clear Channel this" and "Salem that." Just like at Keegan's, everyone wanted some face time with Strom and Martin, so it was taking them a long time to leave for home — even after at least one tug on Strom's shirt sleeve from Margaret.

I saw former Johnson colleagues Rep. Chris DeLaForest (R-Andover), Rep. Karen Klinzing (R-Woodbury), and Rep. Phil "Dr. No" Krinkie (R-Lino Lakes) mingling in the crowd. The would-be ant at the picnic was GOP-endorsed Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Republican primary challenger, Sue Jeffers — would be, but she warmly greeted those she knew, and seemed to charm everyone else.

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