Former high school classmate accuses Wardlow of anti-gay bullying

Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow

Report Ryan Faircloth and Dave Orrick at the Pioneer Press: “Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow’s record of opposing some gay rights dates back years. For Ryan Durant, a former high school classmate, Wardlow’s views aren’t just a question of policy. They’re personal. Durant remembers Wardlow as a high school bully who repeatedly harassed him for being gay — and as the person who mocked him after he attempted suicide in the 10th grade. … In an account corroborated by several other students, Durant, 39, alleges that Wardlow, who is now 40, bullied him for years because of his sexual orientation. … Wardlow, in an emailed statement to the Pioneer Press, denied ever doing “anything remotely like the things alleged.’”

KSTP-TV’s Beth McDonough reports: “For the Jewish community in Minnesota, the shooting 900 miles away in Pittsburgh hit close to home. Especially for a Minnetonka couple, Barb and Brian Herstig. They were part of the 1,500 people who attended a gathering of ‘Solidarity and Hope’ at Temple Israel in Minneapolis Sunday. … The Herstigs became emotional when they realized how many people were in the room, singing together. Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman looked around the packed sanctuary, with people standing along the walls, filling the balcony and an overflow room and said, “We are here, the entire Jewish community is here, and every other perspective.”

At MPR, Martin Moylan reports, “The state of Minnesota wants to know how fast your internet connections are — and it’s launching a new online tool to gather that information. It’s part of an effort to see if Minnesotans get the internet speeds that are supposed to be available to them, and to identify gaps in broadband coverage around the state. The Department of Employment and Economic Development has launched the online tool to run speed tests; it’s at checkspeedminnesota.com.”

For the Strib, Jessie Van Berkel writes, “Jeff Howe is an abortion opponent. So is Joe Perske. Jeff Howe wants to protect the Second Amendment. So does Joe Perske. Jeff Howe wants to reduce health insurance costs. So does Joe Perske. It is hard to distinguish between Republican Howe and Democrat Perske on many of the issues that matter to voters in this state Senate district that curves around St. Cloud, extending north, south and west into farm territory. It’s a piece of the state that will have an outsized impact on the balance of political power at the State Capitol in 2019.

From Brad Schlossman in the Grand Forks Herald: “Rhett Gardner saw the odds at the Orleans Casino sportsbook. He knew UND was a big underdog in its U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against rival Minnesota. ‘We were joking that hopefully Grand Forks will be a rich town after the weekend,’ Gardner said. ‘And I think they might be.’ UND delivered yet another signature win at another destination game — arguably the biggest to date —by knocking off rival Minnesota 3-1 in front of 7,412 exuberant fans in Orleans Arena.”

Says Paul Walsh of the Strib, “A Minnetonka man who flies for Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines was arrested after trying to get a loaded handgun through security at a Florida airport, according to authorities. Brian A. Machtemes, 54, was arrested Friday night at the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers and booked in jail on suspicion of having an unlicensed firearm, a felony. … TSA regulations allow for pilots to have a firearm in the cockpit, but it must be transported in a locked case when not on the flight deck, according to the agency.”

This from the AP, “A Twin Cities high school football player was placed in a medically induced coma after collapsing Saturday during a playoff game. Hill-Murray senior lineman Zach Zarembinski took himself off the field during Hill-Murray’s 28-0 loss to St. Paul Johnson in Saturday’s Class 4A, Section 3 semifinal and collapsed. … According to a post on his CaringBridge page, Zarembinski ‘suffered an injury resulting in a brain bleed on his left side. He was taken by ambulance to Regions Hospital where he received an emergency craniotomy to remove the left side of his skull to allow his brain to swell. He immediately responded positively.

John Croman at KARE-TV reports, “Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, were in Minnesota Friday and Saturday, as part of their national campaign to prevent gun violence. They’ve been traveling the nation in support of candidates who favor reforms such as universal background checks, gun violence protection orders and public health research on the shootings. … Rep. Tim Walz, who is running for governor and served in Congress with Giffords, said the NRA of today is not the same organization of hunters and outdoors enthusiasts that it used to be. Other endorsed contenders on hand were congressional candidates Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips, who said the influence of big money is distorting the issue in Washington.”

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/29/2018 - 10:39 am.

    I loathe Wardlow, and given his legal career, I would not be surprised if it was true. But are we really going back and talking about someone being mean in high school?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/29/2018 - 10:47 am.

      It’s not simple meanness, it’s a pattern of behavior that seeks to dehumanize an individual because of their orientation, which continued for years. He also allegedly mocked him for attempting suicide. Even if he doesn’t outwardly behave that way anymore, his behavior towards Ryan Durant points to his underlying beliefs and motivations. It’s relevant.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/29/2018 - 11:04 am.

        I don’t think Wardlow’s underlying beliefs and motivations are a secret. He’s a terrible guy, and probably only has been. But again, we are talking about non-criminal behavior when he was in high school. Where is the line?

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/29/2018 - 01:03 pm.

          Where is what line? The line at which a person’s actions cannot be judged in their proper context? So what if it was in high school? It still shows that he was a bigot and a bully… two personality attributes that attract GOP voters like moths to a flame.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/29/2018 - 11:19 am.

        It’s only relevant if those same attitudes persist today. Otherwise, you’ll need to apply the same standard to every comment and/or association of Keith Ellison from his school days until the present.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 10/29/2018 - 11:28 am.

      If we don’t hold past school bullies to account, then we’re telling today’s school bullies they won’t be held to account either, so it’s ok to bully.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/29/2018 - 11:41 am.

      If he has at some point in the past said, “Hey, I couldn’t have been more wrong to do that. I regret it, and I’m not that kind of person anymore,” I’ll give him a pass. Especially if he has apologized to those he’s bullied.

      If he hasn’t done that, and does it now, that doesn’t for as much, but does count for something.

      In fact he is denying it, which tells us he knows it’s wrong. So if it we can reasonably conclude (this not a court of law and those rules of evidence don’t apply) that this happened, yeah, it’s relevant.

      And bullying someone about attempting suicide, man that’s pretty despicable. Other than outright violence, you can’t get much lower than that. No one who is pro-life would do that. (Someone who is just anti-abortion might, but you can’t do that and truly call yourself pro-life.)

      I did do things in my life I regret. We all have. It’s what we do with that going forward that counts, unless we’re not moving forward and just stuck there.

    • Submitted by Howard Salute on 10/29/2018 - 11:48 am.

      I agree with you Pat. I think most people learn and evolve from bad high school behavior.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 10/29/2018 - 11:57 am.

      We view candidates thru a glass darkly, especially those who seek to avoid our apprehending clearly who they are. Taking bits of reliable evidence and forming them into a picture of character is the responsible voter’s task. The past behavior is very relevant to the extent it: (a) says something about the candidate’s qualities that are relevant to a public official (does the candidate have a commitment to service or to power? does the candidate respect the worth of all those whom he would be in office to represent?), and (b) is consistent with more current evidence and otherwise appears still to accurately reflect who the candidate is.
      I’d be surprised if I’m the only one whose effort to understand Mr. Wardlow’s character trajectory puts me in mind of Mr. Kavanaugh’s same.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/29/2018 - 12:03 pm.

      Well, City Pages has an article about a recent blog – purportedly by Wardlow – which espouses some pretty extremist views:

      http://www.citypages.com/news/doug-wardlow-is-this-your-extremely-conservative-blog-from-2004/498444002

      And that’s certainly more recent than high school . . . . .

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/29/2018 - 03:51 pm.

      “The child is the father of the man.” This is more than just being mean. This was outright cruelty informed by bigotry. It becomes relevant because of his current stands on gay rights.

  2. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 10/29/2018 - 10:53 am.

    I doubt these allegations would change any minds among Wardlow supporters, but perhaps they will sway people who are undecided about Keith.

  3. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 10/29/2018 - 01:29 pm.

    People like you should be shot? Would a decent person say that to anyone? Multiple people confirm that Wardlow was a bully with more than one victim. One person who didn’t know the victims feels like he didn’t. After how Republicans have tried to link every Democratic candidate with Ellison, it is only right that lying, gay bashing Wardlow (still at it) be featured as the poster child of the Minnesota Republican Party.

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