Dan Severson in a 2010 Minnesota appearance at which he stated: “Never let anybody say that we are a democracy. We are not a democracy.” (Image: Minnesota Democratic-Farm-Labor Party)
Feb. 17, 2020 by David Silverberg
The campaign of Republican congressional candidate Dan Severson raised $107,531.14 in the fourth quarter of 2019, the fourth-highest amount of funds of all candidates in the 19th Congressional District, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Of that amount, $101,500 came in the form of a loan from the candidate.
Otherwise, $3,950 came from just four contributors based in California, Minnesota, Alabama and Pennsylvania—none from Florida, other than what Severson contributed himself.
Severson spent $4,362.57. Of this, the largest amount, $2,250, was spent with Fort Myers consultant Diana Watt and her company Watt Political Consulting. However, that was before Watt and her team resigned from his campaign in early January, after State Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee) announced his candidacy.
The split between the candidate and the consultant came despite their shared adoration of President Donald Trump. Watt and her team issued nothing but praise for Severson as they departed.
“We hold Dan Severson and his wife, Cathy Jo, in the highest regard and wish them the very best,” Watt said, according to Florida Politics. Nathan Watt, deputy campaign manager, who also left, said: “Dan Severson has served his country with honor his entire life and is a wonderful example of a man obeying God’s call on his life.”
Otherwise, Severson’s expenditures covered miscellaneous campaign items like website hosting, event tickets, digital advertising and the like.
Analysis: What it means
This is a campaign that’s already on life support.
Other than the candidate’s loan to his own campaign, he has virtually no donors, no local base of support and his hired campaign team has abandoned him. Even after being one of the first of the eight Republican candidates to file in November after Rep. Francis Rooney’s retirement announcement, Severson still has little to no local name recognition and the evangelicals, veterans and Trumpers he was counting on as his base of support have plenty of other more established and well-known choices.
Severson has had a checkered political career. After serving as a naval fighter pilot for 22 years, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2002 and held the position until 2011, rising to the position of Minority Whip.
He ran for Minnesota’s secretary of state in 2014 and lost by 1 percent to Democrat-Farm-Labor (DFL) Party candidate Steve Simon.
In a time before Trump, Severson caused Trump-like outrage by leveling charges of voter suppression and fraud against Democrats, which Democrats countered were baseless lies. In particular, Severson charged that in the 2014 election of DFL Sen. Al Franken, military votes were deliberately not counted.
After a bizarre dueling press conference in the same room at the same time between Severson and his opponent that took place on Oct. 14, 2014, reporter Doug Grow of the Minnesota Post was led to ask whether Severson’s antics were designed as a “desperate bid to tie himself to the military” and inflame Republican voters. In the end, it didn’t work.
Aged 65, Severson came to Southwest Florida to retire but contemplated running in the 19th Congressional District even before Rooney’s October retirement announcement—because he thought Rooney wasn’t conservative enough.
Severson is anti-choice, pro-gun, denies climate change and opposes Rooney’s proposal for a carbon tax. He is the most overtly religious of the Republican candidates, invoking God on Trump’s behalf.
Given the state of his campaign, he might want to save some of those prayers for himself.
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg