If the Vikings had any hard feelings toward Republicans in the Minnesota House, they don’t seem to be lingering. At least not if a gathering being promoted by House Speaker Kurt Zellers is any indication.
The Maple Grove Republican joined most of the rest of his caucus in voting against the Vikings stadium proposal — despite some personal lobbying in April by the likes of running back Adrian Peterson, center John Sullivan and linebacker Chad Greenway. The three players actually went to the Capitol during the legislative session to meet with lawmakers and plead the team’s case for a new home.
GOP House members voted 33-39 on the stadium deal. DFL members voted 38-21 on the final deal on May 10.
But Zeller’s invitation to a House Republican caucus fundraiser in Prior Lake next month (“Join me to hunt on October 16th!,” Zellers says) lists “Minnesota Vikings” as featured attractions, including John Sullivan — the same guy that actually went to the Capitol for the stadium. Linebacker Audie Cole and long snapper Colin Loeffler (his name is actually Cullen) are also on the bill.
Apparently, a difference over a $1 billion stadium is no barrier to hospitality.
“If people see irony there, then people see irony there,” said Republican caucus spokeswoman Jodi Boyne. “There were Republicans who put up votes, and one Republican, Morrie Lanning, who carried the bill.” She also noted that the GOP would welcome anyone who would like to support the House Republican caucus.
The Vikings, for their part, noted that the fundraiser was not an officially team-sanctioned event, and that NFL players — as we saw so spectacularly earlier this month — are free to exercise their Constitutional rights mostly how they see fit, away from the game.
Here’s the email invite: