While he said he will be steadfast in reducing debt, repealing the Affordable Care Act and looking to return government control to the states, Dahlberg said he has no interest in personal slams against Democrats — including Franken.
“Mr. Franken, I’m sure, is a good man,” he said, prompting sounds of disagreement from a couple of the Republicans on hand.
Dahlberg responded by saying that even if Democrats are wrong on the issues “it doesn’t make a person a bad person.” And he said it will be necessary to work with Democrats to make progress on some of his priorities, a prospect he said is undermined by caustic rhetoric.
“You can’t grandstand. You’ve got to respect people,” he said.
Dahlberg’s meeting in Mankato was hosted by a pair of Blue Earth County commissioners who became acquainted with him through the Association of Minnesota Counties. The support of Commissioner Mark Piepho, a former Republican lawmaker and longtime party member, wasn’t surprising.
Commissioner Vance Stuehrenberg, though, was making an uncommon foray into partisan politics.
“I’m the one, probably, nonpartisan person who’s here,” Stuehrenberg said before endorsing Dahlberg. “... I just like him because he’s a straight shooter, he’s not afraid to tell you what he thinks, and he’s got character.”
Before heading back to Duluth, he reminded the small crowd that he’d need some help to make it to the end of his 15-mile march: “I’m going against a guy who can hold fundraisers with Conan O’Brien ... .”
Shirley Piepho, wife of the county commissioner, joked that Dahlberg has a couple of big-name supporters, too.
“You’ve got Mark and Vance,” she shouted.