The Potluck

Inflammatory anti-CRT mailers sent to Minnesota suburban voters

By: - November 3, 2022 3:58 pm

Photo of mailer tweeted by former Rep. Brad Tabke, DFL-Shakopee.

A Virginia-based political action committee is spending thousands of dollars for direct mailers attacking Minnesota DFL legislative candidates by associating them with a statement about killing white people.  

The mailers are funded by the group Make Liberty Win, which is backed almost entirely by the Texas-based conservative student activist organization Young Americans for Liberty, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Minnesota campaign finance records show the Make Liberty Win political action committee has spent more than $27,000 on direct mailers against six suburban DFL candidates.

Former Rep. Brad Tabke, DFL-Shakopee, who is trying to win his seat back from  Republican Erik Mortensen, tweeted earlier this week that a flier saying he supported so-called critical race theory was circulating in his district. Above an unflattering photo of Tabke reads a quote: 

“I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step,” the mailer reads, attributing it to Aruna Khilanani. Khilanani made the comment during a guest lecture at Yale Medical School last year.

Khilanani told The New York Times last year that her quotes were taken out of context, and that she was using provocation to spark discussion about racial inequities. The mailer incorrectly associates her quote with critical race theory.

Critical race theory, academic-level scholarship not typically taught in K-12 schools, has been weaponized as a tool by conservatives to spark outrage and panic about teaching students about the role of white supremacy in American history and other topics involving diverse cultures.

Make Liberty Win, the group that funded the mailer, has endorsed six Republican legislative candidates in Minnesota; the mail pieces attack their DFL opponents.

Half of the targeted districts are among the legislative seats to watch in 2022 according to MinnPost, as they could help determine which party controls the Minnesota House and Senate.

Tabke tweeted that the mailer was “truly awful,” and Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, said voters in his district received the same mailer, targeting him. 

Make Liberty Win is funding mailers in races across the country. One mailer sent to voters in Arkansas says that a Democratic candidate for state House wants to expose students to sexually explicit content through drag queens in schools. The Republican candidate in that race, whom Make Liberty Win endorsed, said he filed an ethics complaint against the group for misinformation.

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues. For two years she was also a corps member with Report for America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms and news deserts. She lives in St. Paul and likes to knit and watch documentaries in her free time.

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