City Council Member Diane Hofstede, who is locked in a competitive battle to keep her seat representing the Third Ward, issued a statement yesterday attacking her rival Jacob Frey for being supported by the National Association of Realtors Fund.
She described the group as a “far right-wing association” that spends “millions of dollars supporting the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Michele Bachmann.”
She called Frey a “political neophyte” for not rejecting the association’s support.
Julia Parenteau, government affairs director for the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, which makes recommendations to the national association regarding local candidates worthy of support, challenged Hofstede’s characterization of the association as a “far right-wing group.” She said it has a solid bipartisan track record.
She said Hofstede met with the local Realtors association in August for a screening seeking support. The association’s committee, however, recommended the national association support Frey, the DFL-endorsed candidate for the Third Ward.
Merle Minde, a spokeswoman for Hofstede’s campaign, confirmed Hofstede met with the local Realtors group for the screening, but said the Council member “rejected their support when she met with them at their request.”
Parenteau, meanwhile, said there was no “support” offered to Hofstede’s campaign.
The National Association of Realtors Fund has sent out two direct mailings to voters in Ward 3 promoting Frey’s campaign through an independent expenditure.
Independent expenditures can spent unlimited amounts to support a campaign as long as it acts independently of the campaign.
Frey said he didn’t know the fund was going to send out the mail pieces. Like Hofstede, he met for a screening with the local association in August.
“While our opponent may go negative, our grassroots team will keep the same positive message that has triggered such engagement across the new Third Ward,” he said.
Kristina Gronquist, the Green Party candidate running for the Third Ward, said she declined to participate in the NAR screening although she was invited to do so.
"My decision reflects the facts that I prioritize citizen involvement in planning and development and that I am committed to running a campaign free of outside political influences," she said.
According to the National Realtors Association’s PAC contribution data posted on the OpenSecrets website, it has spent $476,000 on federal candidates with 52 percent of that cash going to Democrats and 48 percent going to Republicans.
The fund has also sent out mailers on behalf of Alondro Cano, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Ward 9.
City Council Member Cam Gordon (Ward 2) and Ty Moore, a Green Party candidate for Ward 9, held a press conference yesterday to criticize the National Realtors Association for spending money on Minneapolis races.