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GOP Supreme Court candidate vows to stay in race

Michelle MacDonald
Michelle MacDonald

Michelle MacDonald’s tangles with the Republican Party at the State Fair have topped any sideshow along the Midway.

The latest controvery for MacDonald, the GOP’s endorsed candidate for the Supreme Court,  began on Thursday with a confrontation with a security guard at the party’s State Fair booth— and ended Friday with what she described as a “threatening phone call” from a party representative.

Earlier, McDonald had been barred from entering the party’s State Fair booth because of her pending court appearance for charges of drunken driving and resisting arrest. The ban was the most recent move by the party to distance itself from the candidate, whose legal problems party leaders learned of post-endorsement.

On Thursday, MacDonald crossed the party line, so to speak, by defying that order and entering the GOP’s State Fair booth. She promptly encountered veteran security guard Dan Seaman, a self-described “conflicts solution person,” who gently but firmly escorted her to the sidewalk.

Then, on Friday morning, MacDonald said she got a “threatening” phone call from an attorney asking her to get out of the race. In an interview, MacDonald said he was “an attorney I’ve known for years [that] I consider a friend of mine. He said he had an offer for me from the party and I had to comply by noon.” 

The blog identified the attorney as Michael Burns, and posted a recording of the conversation that MacDonald made

MacDonald responded by digging in her heels further. In a letter to GOP party chair Keith Downey, she wrote, “I understand you have given me a deadline, Mr. Downey, of noon today to write you a letter repudiating my endorsement, and once that is done, the executive committee will meet with me…. I am writing to inform you that I will not repudiate my endorsement by the Republican Party of Minnesota to run for Minnesota Supreme Court, and that the Delegates matter.”

In a subsequent email to party delegates and officers, Downey reiterated the party’s position of limited support for MacDonald. “She is our endorsed candidate. Period,” he wrote.  “Our state party constitution pledges our support of endorsed candidates but there is no explicit commitment of specific resources.”

MacDonald says that now the matter has transcended the question of supporting an endorsed candidate. “The issue now becomes political free speech,” she said.

Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by Tony Dodge on 08/24/2014 - 06:11 pm.

    Double Standard

    If I recall correctly, Tom Emmer, the Republican candidate for governor, has two DUIs. And the republican party is on this woman’s case because she allegedly has one? Sounds like a double standard to me. Republicans with the double standard; knock me over with a feather.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 08/25/2014 - 05:54 am.

      Running for Bachmann’s seat

      You time-traveled to an earlier election.
      Emmer is now running for Bachmann’s old seat.

      One DUI is a reason for concern, but its not a scarlet letter.
      Two is a bigger problem. I wasn’t aware he had those on his record.

      If he is now sober, we can’t hang that one on him.
      There are other reasons to be uncomfortable about Emmer’s endorsement.

      As for the topic at hand, I don’t see a lot of party “inclusion” in actually calling out the muscle to forcibly remove her from a state fair booth.

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/24/2014 - 07:53 pm.

    Mike McFadden has understandably rejected Michelle MacDonald. I don’t understand why Jeff Johnson remains resolute in his support of MacDonald.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 08/25/2014 - 06:20 am.

      ‘Researching’ MacDonald

      If you can call “googling” the same as research:
      Newspaper articles paint her as a radical “bible-thumper” in that she
      seems to lean toward a theocratic view of American government that doesn’t resonate with middle America.

      Perhaps drinking is not the only contentious issue that the GOP wants to suppress.

  3. Submitted by E Gamauf on 08/25/2014 - 04:58 am.

    Free Speech? Does a Party have to abide by that?

    Ultimately, this is a group, the GOP, who has rejected the endorsed candidate! They get to do whatever the officers of the club decide, delegates be damned.

    No follow up vote! They simply have decided to ignore the endorsement, because they won’t risk that she be elected.

    If they can waive off an endorsement & ban the person from their booth, we should wonder what else would they nullify & do an about face on.

    A declared republican judicial candidate is a puzzle in itself, since judges are not supposed to be partisan in the first place & show no party affiliation on the ballot.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 08/25/2014 - 08:55 am.

      Not a free speech issue

      The first amendment only protects you from the government punishing or silencing your speech. Her not knowing that speaks to her qualifications.

  4. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/25/2014 - 08:04 am.

    some are missing the point

    I’m not a Republican and I don’t approve of parties endorsing judge candidates, but I think some of you are missing the point.

    I don’t think the DUI would have been that big of an issue, but it didn’t help to hide it from the convention at large when that committee made their endorsement. The bigger issue, I think, was her behavior after she was stopped, refusing tests, refusing to communicate, taking a private test a day later when the alcohol was out of her system and claiming that proved her innocence. Then her behavior in the court room came out, being handcuffed to a wheel chair to get her to cooperate with the judicial process.

    Bordkorp’s website has a long letter, I think from Macdonald, explaining and justifying every problem in her life as the result of persecution by many agencies and individuals in Dakota County. Apparently the nominating committee swallowed this ridiculous letter whole. I thought it was hysterical that they would cite her legal problems, all of which she caused herself, as a qualification for the supreme court.

    She is obviously anything but a team player. How would that work as a member of the supreme court. That the Republican’s own AG candidate has endorsed her opponent speaks volumes. The Republicans fought against decades of tradition to endorse judicial candidates and this is what they came up with.

    The hypocrisy and irresponsibility wasn’t in abandoning her after they realized how flaky she was, it was in endorsing her or anyone in the first place, especially based on how little they knew about her.

    She’s the best show in politics right now and I look forward to lots of publicity starting in late September when her trial starts. I hope she fights hard and drags it out and makes lots of speeches. I read somewhere that she has raised a whole $100 dollars for her campaign so far. That ought to skyrocket up to $150 or so by election day.

  5. Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 08/25/2014 - 09:41 am.

    MacDonald double-standard?

    AFAIK, MNGOP was aware of Emmer’s record when he campaigned for the party endorsement. On the other hand, MacDonald said nothing to MNGOP about her pending charge; MNGOP did not even know of it until AFTER the endorsement. THAT is what makes her situation different and of concern to MNGOP.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/25/2014 - 10:20 am.

      What did MNGOP know, and when did they stop knowing it?

      MacDonald said nothing of her record, and the endorsing committee did not care. She is a licensed attorney who is willing to indulge in the farce of a partisan endorsement for what should be a non-partisan job. After that, she showed up at the endorsing convention and mouthed all the shibboleths about God, the Bible, and the Constitution. The fact that she is an unrepentant nutjob who blames everyone else for her problems would have come out before, if the party were truly serious about vetting candidates, or if they had any idea how poorly adhering to orthodoxy measures a candidate’s appeal to the electorate.

      MNGOP should be concerned about its own failings.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 08/25/2014 - 05:34 pm.

      I heard Brodkorb on radio show

      If its Brodkorb – well, he wasn’t a very nice person in past roles…

      Rolling the dice that he’s believable now:
      He said they KNEW she had a DUI court appearance coming up.

      And that the GOP has been endorsing judicial candidates since 2006.

      What I need to know – would my primary vote be invalid if I voted for say the Greens, but picked the Republican-endorsed judicial candidate? Isn’t that crossing affiliations?

      The person who lost to MacDonald was allowed in the GOP booth, according to the radio broadcast.
      And that the person who gave her the ultimatum/“threat” was the attorney who represented one of the parties in her divorce.

      It doesn’t make the GOP look too good. Does this make her sympathetic?
      The whole thing is just a mess.

  6. Submitted by jody rooney on 08/25/2014 - 10:22 am.

    Not to mention did she just say she recorded a

    conversation with a friend?

    Sounds like a Republican fruit cake to me.

  7. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 08/25/2014 - 12:38 pm.


    All I have to add to this discussion is…

    You go, girl!

    In the meantime, someone pop more popcorn, pass the bowls, and don’t spare the butter and salt! You gotta love a good train wreck.

    Sorry. We now return you to your regular intelligent commentary.

  8. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 08/25/2014 - 02:36 pm.

    Love it !

    I just love it when these Republican National and State candidates self destruct.

  9. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 08/25/2014 - 02:37 pm.

    The scary thing is to realize that–given the opacity of judicial “races” i Minnesota and the general ignorance of the voting public of who the candidates really are, this nut-job could easily get elected. Especially in some outstate districts.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 08/25/2014 - 06:53 pm.

      That’s a really good point. Thanks for that!

      Connie Sullivan said: “. . .given the opacity of judicial “races” in Minnesota. . .”

      Maybe this event will underscore the fact that we know so very little about judges.
      What can you do, except vote blind on judges?

      We are left trusting that they are better than most of us. Solomon one & all.

      I did not know she was the one who put her bible in front of reason & the law. I still don’t know how to take her comments and I was feeling sorry for her, despite her not being my candidate. She is getting a raw deal as the endorsed, yet shunned candidate, but that doesn’t make her a GOOD candidate either.

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/26/2014 - 07:36 am.

        always a raw deal for poor Michelle

        Dig in a little and you will see that everything: the DUI, the stop for no license, the handcuffed court case, everything that ever happened because of her actions was in fact really due to the evil actions of others. Judicial races, until the GOP decided to change the rules, have always been politically opaque. The three branches of government are supposed to remain separate. When political parties start to endorse judges that separation is violated. Judges are supposed to be chosen based on their experience, temperament and understanding of the law. You don’t hire someone to fix your computer based on their party affiliation, in fact you probably don’t ask or care. Once you make that an issue you guarantee that the field of qualified candidates will be small and the chance of hiring someone incompetent increases.

        If you know little about the judges you vote for it is because you are leaving it up to someone else to decide who you should vote for. It takes more effort on the voter’s part. That isn’t the same as opacity. There are neutral voting guides and other sources of information. If I don’t have enough information about the candidates for a particular office I leave that vote blank on my ballot and leave the choice to more informed voters.

        Waving the bible proves she has no understanding or sympathy for the rule of law. Her own court cases prove she doesn’t have the temperament. This whole case proves the folly of voting for judges based on political persuasion.

  10. Submitted by Charles Spolyar on 08/25/2014 - 03:18 pm.

    A misunderstanding…

    … of the “Policy and a Pint” program?

  11. Submitted by Leon Webster on 08/25/2014 - 11:03 pm.

    How did she make it through law school?

    Ms. Macdonald should be indicted for murdering the English Language. Presumably one must do some writing to make it through law school. This letter is so poorly written, and so incoherent that I am surprised she passed freshman composition, let alone got a law degree.

  12. Submitted by Roy Everson on 08/26/2014 - 03:04 am.

    Won’t you chip in today?

    It’s unfortunate she has raised so little money. A more competitive race would ensure greater publicity, probably a national story, and generate such a backlash for the GOP that they richly deserve.

  13. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 08/26/2014 - 02:08 pm.

    Unfortunate phrasing

    In her case, “free speech” is just the inevitable devolution of “talk is cheap.” I don’t think the impartiality of a judge would rest well on her.

  14. Submitted by E Gamauf on 08/26/2014 - 04:52 pm.

    a self-described “conflicts solution person”

    Oh! You mean BOUNCER.
    The GOP booth has a bouncer.

  15. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/25/2014 - 03:47 pm.


    There is no record of her as having appeared as an attorney before the United States Supreme Court of America or, for that matter, the United States Supreme Court. Is she merely saying that she is licensed to appear before the SCOTUS, but also trying to create the impression that she has practiced there?

  16. Submitted by Meg Watson on 08/25/2014 - 08:08 pm.

    Or possibly impaired…

    That letter is so badly written as to be largely unintelligible. Perhaps written in the heat of the moment, or with a drink or three under her belt?

    I so enjoy watching the MN republicans, pass the popcorn indeed!

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