A Republican lawmaker who failed to appear in a local Fourth of July parade had his spot taken by a group of protesters upset at him for not making public appearances.

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) was initially scheduled to walk in the July 4th parade in Edina, Minn. But he pulled out two days before, citing scheduling conflicts, according to local CBS affiliate WCCO.

Parade representatives told WCCO that it was too late to remove the lawmaker’s name from the program by that point.

ADVERTISEMENT
But protesters, upset that their congressman wasn’t appearing, took his place in the parade.

“Our congressman didn’t show, so we are here instead,” Clara Severson, who said she lives in Paulsen’s district, told WCCO.

“He never has town halls, he didn’t show up to this, so we decided to take his place.”

Parade chairman John Swon said the protesters were “parade crashers” and should not have participated.

Paulsen’s spokesman Andrew Johnson told the affiliate that Paulsen hadn’t planned on attending because it was not an election year.

“As was the case two years ago in the last off-year, he didn’t participate then either, so nothing new here,” Johnson said. “I think it’s more of an on-year versus off-year thing.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) walked in the parade, as did Minnesota businessman Dean Phillips, a possible Democratic challenger to Paulsen in 2018.