Controversial billboard catches drivers' eyes in Hampton, Minn.

- A simple, yet controversial billboard has been catching drivers’ eyes as they travel north toward the metro on Highway 52 in Hampton, Minn. 

The billboard criticizes President Trump. It says “big mistake” next to a photo of him.

The group that claims to be behind the massive billboard is an organization called “Republicans for Honesty in Government.” This is the second billboard that they have put up on Highway 52. 

People living in the area have had plenty of heated discussions about the billboard. It has been up since October, but it took a while for people to really start noticing it. 

“[If] somebody has money to waste they can put it to better use,” Chris Chadwick, a Hampton resident said. “You need to give him a chance. Anybody who gets elected … they have to have a chance to prove what they’re going to try and do, or what their thought process is and how they can try and make it better.” 

Some people said they were glad the sign was up. Others said they hadn’t noticed it until Fox 9 asked them about it. 

“I don’t like everything he does, but I don’t disagree with everything he does,” Jim Bitzegaio, a Hastings resident said. “I’m not real impressed by the sign I guess.”

According to the Secretary of State’s website, Republicans for Honesty in Government is a group registered to a man named Robert Johnson. He’s the founder and director of a real estate investment firm in St. Paul. 

Online records show Republicans for Honesty in Government is a 527 organization that cannot endorse political candidates. The group’s contributions amount to zero dollars, as reported to the federal election commission. 

Fox 9 reached out to Johnson, but he was unavailable for comment. 

Some people thought it was strange that Republicans are supposedly behind the sign. 

“There’s a lot of organizations that need extra money and donations and stuff, put it to better use,” Chadwick added. 

A couple from Winona not only agrees with the message, they told Fox 9 that they want to see more billboards go up. 

“Obviously the first amendment allows for freedom of speech and it’s great to see opinions and freedom being expressed,” David Hammel of Winona said. 

The billboard in Hampton is part of Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, an area that has become more conservative in the last few elections. 

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