On Thursday night, Donald Trump's official Minnesota campaign team staged a voter registration event outside Rollie's Rednecks and Longnecks bar in Sauk Rapids.
The campaign team's appearance was tweeted by Blake Paulson, whose Twitter bio labels him the "regional field director for Trump Victory Minnesota." Paulson's message and photo about the "great crowd of folks" was retweeted by the Republican Party of Minnesota's account.
Great crowd of folks out tonight in Sauk Rapids that are all on �� for @realDonaldTrump !— Blake Paulson (@trumpmn_blake) June 26, 2020
Thanks to Dan and Russ for registering new voters and being great examples of how to #LeadRight !#KAG2020 ���� pic.twitter.com/TjuZwv8yhw
This isn't the first time the Republican Party of Minnesota has tried connecting with voters at Rollie's: GOP candidate for governor Jeff Johnson staged a campaign event there in November 2018.
This, though, is quite the fucking week to decide you want to associate with Rollie's.
If you've heard of this bar at all, it's probably through a couple recent Star Tribune stories about owner Roland Hogrefe's extremely whiny reaction to being called out as racist.
For some time now, Unitecloud, the St. Cloud-based anti-racism organization has been documenting examples proving just how thoroughly shitty he is.
The (central Minnesota!) bar sports Confederate flags and other Dixie-themed memorabilia. Unitecloud has also posted a witness's story about a "black baby doll" seen "hanging by its neck" behind the bar, which was also photographed wearing an "ISIS" shirt.
In the bar's own social media posts, Hogrefe has made Native American-themed jokes about getting a "reservation," and calling coronavirus "kung flu."
Let's see... we leave anything out?
Oh, right. That time in 2009 when Hogrefe yelled racial slurs at Black people and ran over one of them with his truck.
As laid out in charges detailed in a Pioneer Press story, Hogrefe was leaving a McDonald's in St. Cloud when his car almost hit a group of Black pedestrians. Words were exchanged; Hogrefe later admitted he'd used a "racial epithet," but said he'd only done so after they'd called him a "honky" and an "idiot."
Hogrefe turned his truck around and drove back toward the group, eventually ramming it into Antoine Williams, who "was knocked out, had broken teeth and needed stitches to his head, plates put into his arm and surgery to repair his intestines."
Hogrefe later told cops he'd only hit Williams in self-defense, after someone in the crowd shot at him -- a claim he tried supporting by shooting a bullet through his trucks' windshield the next morning. (Later he admitted shots were fired only after he'd hit Williams.)
Hogrefe was charged with first- and second-degree assault, criminal vehicular operation, and leaving the scene of an accident; he later pleaded guilty to only this last charge, and served 90 days in jail.
As of Wednesday, Hogrefe is suing Unitecloud and its executive director Natalie Ringsmuth, whom he says is "piggybacking on the ‘Cancel Culture’ to try and destroy people and businesses they disagree with." We, on the other hand, would argue the only person in this story who's actually tried to "destroy" a person is Roland Hogrefe.
In his lawsuit, Hogrefe claims Unitecloud's activism is hurting the bar's "ability to do business and continue to attract... amazing local and national music acts."
It seems to have had the exact opposite effect on the Republican Party of Minnesota.