Extreme rhetoric fills the air at Republican debate

Ortman, Dahlberg, Abeler double down on opposition to raising the minimum wage, immigration reform; McFadden fittingly represented by empty chair

GOP candidates state Sen. Julianne Ortman, County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, and Rep. Jim Abeler doubled down on extreme right-wing positions that are out of step with Minnesota voters during last night’s Republican Debate in Vadnais Heights.

All three candidates came out against working families and reiterated their opposition to raising the minimum wage.

Dahlberg: “I think the Federal government has no role in the minimum wage, so they shouldn’t be involved in it.”

Ortmann: “Well the Democrats in St. Paul passed a $9.50 minimum wage increase indexed to inflation… And so, there is a Federal government minimum wage, it’s set at $7.25 dollars an hour, the Federal government, President Obama, wants $10.10 an hour, that’s what’s being considered in Washington and I absolutely oppose that, I oppose the $9.50 increase.”

Abler: “This came up on the floor, all the Republicans voted no.”

And they doubled down on their opposition to bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that would help Minnesota farmers and businesses

Ortman: “I’m in favor of considering changes to the law, but only first after we’ve secured the border and, secondly, we have confidence that the laws that we currently have will be enforced, so that we know that when we approve a change that that change will mean something and it will be enforced.”

Dahlberg: “I would have opposed the Senate immigration bill, because it links to the issue, and I think it’s a pathway, it’s an amnesty pathway for illegal immigrants. And first, before we deal with that, the illegal immigrants, we have to secure the border and I don’t want to put the two together.”

Abeler: “I would have voted ‘no’ on the Senate bill because it was just too much.”

“Once again, Republican Senate candidates have demonstrated that their extreme right-wing positions are at odds with the viewpoints and values of Minnesota voters,” said DFL Chair Ken Martin. “Minnesotans want someone that can represent their voices in the Senate, not some extreme conservative faction.”

Investment banker Mike McFadden’s performance, however, was extremely memorable: