The DFL tweeted a clearly-doctored video Monday to suggest that Rep. Jason Rarick (R-Pine City), the Republican candidate in Tuesday’s Senate District 11 special election, supports raising the gas tax in Minnesota.
The ongoing Twitter feud started after the airing of a February 1 debate between the candidates on Almanac North. After that debate, the DFL released a statement claiming that Rarick “flipped his position” on the gas tax and now supports a 35-cent increase.
“Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouth,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said, noting that the Minnesota GOP was referring to the gas tax as a “radical liberal agenda” in campaign mailers.
GOP caught lying to voters: GOP sends attack ads, even though their own Jason Rarick (R) flipped his position this week to support raising the gas tax. #HypocriticGOP #FlipFlop #SD11 #MNLeg pic.twitter.com/2nPj6Px4BN
— Minnesota DFL Party (@MinnesotaDFL) February 3, 2019
“This is the height of dirty tricks and hypocrisy. While DFLers are out having face-to-face conversations, the Republicans think these kinds of smears will win them votes,” Martin added.
The DFL was also allegedly telling voters that Rarick supports a gas tax in last-minute calls before the Tuesday election. Rarick responded to the DFL in a Tuesday video posted to Twitter in which he calls the claims “last-minute lies.”
“It’s a flat-out lie. They’re saying that I support a 35-cent gas tax. I have never said that, and I would never support that. That would hurt our rural areas so much,” he said. “What I believe is that we should dedicate sales taxes from auto parts, from auto leases—that’s how we should be funding our roads.”
— Jason Rarick (@RepRarick) February 4, 2019
Rarick went on to say that if both parties can “come to a compromise,” he would support a “very small gas tax—maybe five cents a gallon,” which is consistent with his comments made during the debate.
“Don’t let them confuse you,” he said. “Make sure everybody knows what’s going on. Don’t let them steal this election.”
The DFL replied to Rarick’s message with a 12-second video, which was clearly edited to include portions of his responses. In one case, the video took half of a sentence from one of Rarick’s answers when he says that he’s “willing to consider one” in response to a question about a gas-tax hike.
— Minnesota DFL Party (@MinnesotaDFL) February 4, 2019
The full exchange, however, transpired as follows:
“Moderator: Jason, let’s start with you. Do you favor an increase in the state gasoline tax for roads and bridges?
Rarick: I would prefer that we dedicate sales taxes and lease taxes, but I’m willing to consider one if we do it jointly with some of the dedications. I know we’ve kind of been beating our heads against the wall for the last three years with the Republicans backing the sales-tax dedication, and the Democrats wanting to do the gas tax. So, I say either we come together and each take about half of our plan or we scrap both and come up with something new.
Moderator: Do you see it happening this year?
Rarick: I believe there’s potential, yeah. I think we all know what needs to be done. We need $6 billion over a ten-year period to just fix our roads, so we all know what needs to be done.
A full video of the Almanac North debate can be viewed below:
Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) is expected to include a gas-tax increase in his first budget proposal, which he will be releasing February 19.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Jason Rarick” by Jason Rarick.
Background Photo “Jason Rarick Video” by Minnesota DFL.