Fine hires Joe Weber to boost flagging campaign

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Fifth District Republican Congressional candidate Alan Fine, whose campaign is reeling from media reports of domestic abuse allegations against him in 1995, has hired Republican campaign strategist Joe Weber.

Weber is the brother of former Minnesota Congressman and Washington political insider Vin Weber and has consulted widely for local and national Republican candidates. He has reportedly been working with Fine for the past couple of weeks.

A partner in the St. Paul–based Weber Johnson Public Affairs, Weber is the former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Arne Carlson and has consulted for the Norm Coleman, Tim Pawlenty, and John Kline campaigns. He’s also worked on major campaigns in Ohio, North Carolina, and California.

The move appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Fine forces to salvage something from a campaign that has been struggling since the September 11 primary, when Fine began a series of attack ads against DFL endorsee Keith Ellison, calling him “unfit” to serve in Congress. Last week, Fine’s character came under scrutiny after the Star Tribune reported allegations of domestic abuse by Fine’s ex-wife. Fine had sought to expunge the police reports in 2004, and Saturday called for the newspaper to retract the story, which he called defaming.

Neither Weber nor the Fine campaign responded to requests for a comment.

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