During a Republican district convention last month in the Suburban Twin Cities, Ali Jimenez-Hopper made her case to be named one of the GOP’s Minnesota House candidates this fall by attacking her opponent’s race and sexual orientation.
The Democratic challenger she attacked was Erin Maye Quade, a staffer for U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN).
During her speech, Jimenez-Hopper elude’s to Quade as being “really far left [in] her values,” due primarily to the fact that she’s half black and is married to a woman:
She brings up that she is half black and she uses that as a strength. She brings up that she is in support of LGBT and that lifestyle and puts out pictures on Twitter of her and her wife,” Jimenez-Hopper continued. “I believe in the traditional marriage in the sense that it’s between a husband and wife and God and that family is important. We need to have these values so we can go forth and think about your community.
Following her remarks, Jimenez-Hopper won the local Republican party’s official endorsement as their GOP candidate for the disputed House seat being vacated by State Rep. Tara Mack (R).
When reached for comment, Quade recalled how she first heard audio of Jimenez-Hopper’s speech on a thecolu.mn report published on Wednesday. She said she discovered the article while still in bed with her wife Alyse, and that her opponent’s comments sickened her:
This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing, it’s basic human respect and it’s shocking to hear from anyone,” Maye Quade told ThinkProgress, adding that she’s never met Jimenez-Hopper. “That’s not the tone I want for this election — at least for me.
Ironically, the only substantive message contained within Jimenez-Hopper’s speech was a glowing appraisal of Quade’s qualifications as a candidate:
I’ve done my research on her [Quade] and she’s well read on all of her policies, she’s really involved with the Democratic side and their party. And she knows a lot of the bills inside and out.
The GOP candidate then insisted that the party needed someone who could equally “match” Quade’s skills just before launching her racist and homophobic attack which had nothing to do with the qualifications she mentioned earlier.
Quade’s experience as a longtime community organizer for her local Apple Valley community as well as her experience under Rep. Ellison did not prepare her for the immediate Trump style attack from her Republican opponent.
Thankfully as more people began to learn of Jimenez-Hopper’s remarks, Quade said she was overwhelmed by an “outpouring of love” from voters on both sides of the aisle.
Also, despite the fact that a Republican currently hold the seat Quade is vying for, the candidate pointed out that the district is a “purple” or swing district carried by President Obama in 2012 and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014.
Quade insists that her campaign will be about the issues, highlighting her “inside and out” knowledge of the policies that people actually care about such as fighting childhood hunger, pushing for statewide paid family leave, investing in local transportation, and improving Minnesota’s mental health services.
We can’t afford to focus on dividing people and spewing hate,” she said.
Meanwhile on Facebook, the chair of Minnesota’s Democratic party, Ken Martin expressed his disgust concerning Jimenez-Hopper’s toxic remarks but noted that this was not entirely unexpected:
Unfortunately, I am not surprised that the Republicans have recruited candidates who resort to outright racist and discriminatory statements and tactics given their standard bearer, Donald Trump.
Featured image mashup via WCCO