Bluestem readers may remember that the basic party operating unit attracted attention in August when it sent invitations to registered lobbyists for an auction of time with Republican lawmakers to the highest bidders.
City Pages' resident honey badger Gregory Pratt reports in Paul Zunker, Carver County Republican chairman, charged for molesting minor:
Zunker has allegedly been molesting his victim since last August. The victim, who is under 16, would tell him to "knock it off" and "stop," which he would only do briefly before starting again, according to a complaint from the Carver County Attorney's Office. Zunker would allegedly touch the victim's chest against her wishes and when she asked him to stop, Zunker "laughed," according to the complaint.
The Carver County Sheriff's Office and child protection workers learned of the sexual abuse this August and began investigating it. Confronted by a child protection worker, Zunker confessed to molesting her "at least one time per week."
Asked to explain his actions, Zunker allegedly told them that he did it "because it made him feel good."
Lovely. The Villager reports that local Republicans are surprised and view the development as "a little more than a hiccup" for their organization:
Members of the Carver County Republican Party are scheduled to meet Thursday to select a new chair.
Several members of the party’s executive committee were caught off-guard by the allegations.
Rolland Neve, a member of the executive committee from Chanhassen, said he had heard that Zunker was stepping down because of work pressures.
“Holy smokes. I was shocked,” Neve said when he heard about the criminal charges on Tuesday.
Bruce Schwichtenberg, of Carver, said he was frustrated after learning details.
“I feel sorry for this person who is part of it,” he said. “It’s sad.”
Schwichtenberg said he didn’t vote for Zunker when he ran for the position of party chair and said Zunker had a limited history with the party when he was chosen as chair.
“It’s a situation where we have to move on because we have elections coming up in a year,” Schwichtenberg said. “It’s obviously a little more than a hiccup. But I’m hoping people don’t stay away and not be involved.”
At the Brick City blog, Sean Olsen observes:
Rumors about Zunker had been circulating for several days, as his normally active Twitter feed had gone silent, his Facebook page had been scrubbed, and his LinkedIn profile had disappeared. Zunker had been considered by some insiders to be one of the more promising folks on the Carver County GOP bench, with considerations for him potentially being a candidate for a county commissioner post or a legislative run down the road. The Carver County GOP will elect a new chair at their BPOU meeting on Thursday.
If found guilty of both counts, Zunker could face a sentence of 90 months in jail. Zunker’s next court appearance is scheduled for September 16.
According to Fox News 9, Zunker descibed himself on his twitter account as:
“a Christian, husband, Dad, small business owner, Conservative, MNGOP State Central Committee member and Chair of the Republican Party of Carver County.”