A Minnesota House candidate is blaming Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters for an alleged “politically motivated” attack that left him with a concussion.
Shane Mekeland, a Republican candidate for Minnesota’s state House, was “blindsided” by a “much, much bigger person” at a restaurant in St. George Township last week as he told the Star Tribune.
Though the attacker “did not seem dangerous” when he first began talking to Mekeland, the candidate felt things change as the man made some remarks before he “punched” him.
“It was a typical politically charged statement — not necessarily one way or the other, just a statement in general,” Mekeland recalled. “But it was in reference to politicians not caring about the middle class.”
The Benton County Sheriff confirmed that a suspect was identified and admitted to the assault, though he was not arrested or charged with a crime.
“While I had never met my assailant, the words he yelled at me before he attacked me lead me to believe his actions were politically motivated,” Mekeland wrote in a Facebook post after the incident. “When I chose to run for office, I expected to be politically attacked, but never physically.”
Mekeland, who is facing off against Democrat Karla Scapanski and independent Myron Wilson in the bid for the House seat in District 15B, called out “the media and the likes of Maxine Waters, Hillary [Clinton] and Eric Holder” for “driving this behavior” in response to a comment on his Facebook post.
The attack on Mekeland, a convenience store owner and general contractor, happened between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday but the candidate waited until Sunday to address it on his campaign’s Facebook page. He told the Star Tribune he spoke to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and sought medical treatment on Saturday after he noticed some side effects from the attack.
But Mekeland isn’t the only GOP candidate feeling the heat just weeks before the election.
State Representative Sarah Anderson of Plymouth had a run-in with a man who allegedly lunged at her when she approached him about kicking her campaign sign, according to KMSP. She told the news outlet that the man identified himself as an anarchist and told Anderson she should kill herself.
As she attempted to get a photo of him, the man allegedly charged her and prevented her from shutting her car door.
“That’s when he just hauled off and punched me in the arm,” she said. “Then I put the car in reverse to just get out of there.”
Mekeland and Anderson have no plans to discontinue their campaigning efforts but admit the rules seem to have changed.
Mekeland’s outreach on Facebook was an effort to call for a return to “civil discourse.”
“Stay calm, be civil, it’s OK,” Mekeland said Monday. “My parents were on the opposite side for their entire marriage and it was 53 years. I grew up in it; they never fought over it.”
“The idea that they will physically attack me, that is un-Minnesotan,” Anderson said. “That is not how we operate, and that’s not how we solve problems in the state.”
“Three weeks from now, I don’t want this to be the defining moment of my campaign,” she added. “I refuse to allow this to change me as a person.”
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