During a Republican district convention in the suburban Twin Cities last month, Ali Jimenez-Hopper helped seal her endorsement as a state House candidate with a speech that attacked her Democratic opponent on the basis of her sexual orientation and race.
Referring to Erin Maye Quade, a staffer for Keith Ellison who has a black dad and is married to a woman, Jimenez-Hopper said “she is really far left [in] her values.”
UPDATE: Minnesota Republican Offers Non-Apology For Attacking Opponent’s Sexual Orientation And Race
“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 that speech, Jimenez-Hopper was officially endorsed as the GOP candidate for the House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Tara Mack. Neither Jimenez-Hopper or Maye Quade face primary challengers, meaning they’re set to face off in the general election this November.
Reached for comment, Maye Quade said that like many people, she first heard audio of Jimenez-Hopper’s remarks when they were detailed in a thecolu.mn report published Wednesday. She said she came across the article this morning while in bed with her wife Alyse.
“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.”
Maye Quade, a longtime community organizer and Apple Valley resident, said she’s completely unaccustomed to experiencing racism or homophobia in her suburban community. As news of Jimenez-Hopper’s remarks circulated, Maye Quade said she’s experienced an “outpouring of love” from people on both sides of the aisle.
Despite the fact that the seat Maye Quade is running for is currently held by a Republican, she pointed out that the “purple” district was carried by Barack Obama in 2012 and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton two years later. She said she intends for her campaign to be focused on issues like ameliorating childhood hunger, investing in transportation, enacting statewide paid family leave, and providing people with better mental health resources.
“We can’t afford to focus on dividing people and spewing hate,” she said.
Ken Martin, chair of Minnesota’s Democratic party, denounced Jimenez-Hoppe’s comments on Facebook, writing, “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.”
Jimenez-Hoppe didn’t immediately respond to ThinkProgress’ request for comment.