ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A very public war of words is brewing between two popular and controversial Minnesota House Republicans.

Over the weekend, Rep. John Kriesel logged onto Twitter to share parts of a bitter letter sent to him by Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer. In it, she wrote that the war veteran has “no courage.”

The frustration appears to have stemmed from the Vikings Stadium passage.

Kriesel sat in the front row when the Vikings bill was signed, which is a major accomplishment of his short legislative career. And he says for anyone to say he’s running away from it, or anything else, is absurd.

“I think to say that that’s not the reason I am not running is crazy,” said Kriesel.

But that’s exactly what fellow Kiffmeyer said. She’s telling voters the stadium bill was “forced” through the legislature — and Kriesel says that’s a “lie.”

So, in a note to Kriesel, Kiffmeyer told him: “Not only (do you have) no clue but no courage to run again and be accountable and see what your district thinks.”

What makes this one of those “ouch” moments is the courage part. Kriesel is a decorated Iraq war veteran. A double amputee from a terrible roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in which he watched five of his comrades die.

On Twitter, he called Kiffmeyer “a classless lady” and he’s not backing off.

“But to then just go, ‘well, you’re not running because you are afraid to face your constituents,’ which is — it’s absurd,” he said. “It shows what a classless lady she is.”

Kriesel said he’s not asking for an apology and added he doesn’t care about Kiffmeyer. But for the record, he says he’s not running for a second term because he owes it to his family.

“I have missed so much of my boy’s lives, you know, with my time in the military. My wife’s really = put her life on hold, her career goals on hold while I was recovering in the hospital,” said Kriesel.

WCCO-TV contacted Kiffmeyer repeatedly in the last two days to get her side of the story, or any kind of statement. She chose not to respond.

Pat Kessler