Police group switches stance from 2020, backs Angie Craig for 2022 re-election

Dave Orrick, Pioneer Press, September 21, 2022

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, an influential law enforcement group, announced Wednesday it is endorsing U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat from the 2nd Congressional District, for re-election in 2022.

The endorsement is noteworthy because in 2020 the MPPOA, which represents some 10,400 public safety workers, endorsed Craig’s Republican opponent, Tyler Kistner — and the two are in a rematch this year.

The nod is also a coup for Craig because Democrats have been widely seen as vulnerable to criticisms of being soft on crime amid increases in violent crimes. Many police associations and unions have appeared to align themselves with Republicans in the wake of anti-police rhetoric following high-profile police killings of unarmed Black men, such as George Floyd.

Craig’s race is being closely watched around the country because Minnesota’s 2nd District, which includes numerous suburbs in the south metro, is seen as a swing district and potential bellwether for how the nation’s political winds are blowing. Craig beat Kistner by about 2.25 percentage points in 2020.

Craig’s campaign was eager to trumpet the endorsement Thursday, issuing a news release that echoed the praise the MPPOA listed. Among their reasons cited was that “Craig led the public pushback from Minnesota elected officials on the Minneapolis ballot initiative to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department.”

“Rep. Craig has supported and helped pass many pieces of bipartisan legislation to support law enforcement agencies, police officers, and their families,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement, which noted the groups switch from 2020 but didn’t elaborate.

When asked for a response to the MPPOA’s endorsement Kistner spokesman Tyler Dunn said: “Organizations often endorse incumbents because they think it’s a safe bet. Congresswoman Craig voted twice to strip qualified immunity from our police officers, putting them at greater risk. Tyler Kistner’s support for law enforcement will never waiver. Minnesotans will reject Angie Craig’s failed record in November”

Kistner, who spent nine years of active duty in the Marines, has endorsements by such groups as the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and Associated Builders and Contractors.

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