Brandon Sawalich, who’s considered one of the front-runners in the race for GOP state chair, was arrested Thursday at the airport for having expired license tabs.
He’s an executive of Starkey Hearing Technologies.
A Starkey employee, driving Sawalich’s pickup, had come to the airport to pick up Sawalich after a business trip. When Sawalich came out of the terminal, police were waiting at the vehicle with the employee. Because it was his vehicle and the tabs were expired, Sawalich was fingerprinted and his mug shot was taken, reports say.
UPDATE: Airport officials now say that Sawalich will get only a ticket for the expired tabs: the gross misdemeanor citation is being dropped to a petty misdemeanor.
Sawalich told the Star Tribune: “I was stunned.”
He said that his wife paid the license fee within an hour and he was released. He told the paper he paid $138 to get his vehicle out of an impound lot in Eagan and $60 for a cab ride home. He now must deal with the gross misdemeanor citation for the expired tabs.
Sawalich has been considered a top contender for the post of Minnesota Republican Party Chair after Tony Sutton resigned unexpectedly earlier this month. Party leaders will meet before the end of the year to select a new chair.
Sawalich has told some reporters that he’s re-evaluating his plan to run for the party post.
UPDATE: Friday afternoon, Sawalich said he’s withdrawing from consideration.