Minnesota Republicans are calling on state Democrats to rescind the endorsement of Judd Hoff, a candidate for a state House seat with a criminal record who has been accused of stalking and harassing the incumbent Republican legislator.

Hoff was endorsed this month by local Democrats to run in a central Minnesota House district that's been represented by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, since 2011.

Republicans say Hoff has harassed and stalked Franson for years, "digging through her trash, publishing her address and contact information, filming her at her private residence, and relentlessly sending rude and threatening messages online," said Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, chair of the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC).

"While I have no doubt that Rep. Franson will overwhelmingly win re-election, this man belongs nowhere near the ballot and the DFL should make clear that this behavior will not be tolerated," he added.

State GOP Party Chair David Hann said in a statement that the endorsement "normalizes his threatening behavior towards Representative Mary Franson" and must be immediately rescinded.

Hoff did not respond to a call to a phone number listed on a previous campaign page. On his current campaign Facebook page, he said he's a full-time construction worker, married with children and grandchildren and "a bit of an activist and political agitator in my spare time."

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said in a statement that the state party "strongly disavows this endorsement" and he's asked the local party unit to "withdraw their endorsement immediately.

"The Minnesota DFL will not spend any of our resources on behalf of Mr. Hoff," Martin added. "We all have a responsibility, regardless of party or ideology, to reject violence in our politics — we can and should expect better from candidates for elected office."

Local Democrats in the district did not immediately respond to a request for comment. . . .

Read the rest of the article at the Star Tribune.

At the Alexandria Echo Press, Al Edenloff reported in Douglas County DFLers' endorsement of Judd Hoff for House District 12B draws heat from Minnesota DFL chair:

A decision by Senate District 12 DFLers to endorse Judd Hoff of Alexandria for Minnesota House District 12B was sharply opposed by state DFL leaders.

Hoff, a convicted felon, reportedly received the endorsement to run against Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, over the weekend.

On Monday, April 15, after finding out the endorsement, Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin issued a news release saying that Hoff was unfit to run for elected office.

. . . . When contacted by the Echo Press, a representative from District 12 said that Hoff came to the Senate District 12 Organizing Unit Convention in Starbuck seeking the endorsement from the delegates who were elected to the convention at the DFL caucus in February.

The representative said that Hoff disclosed the facts of his criminal history at the convention. He also signed a code of conduct, which explains the guidelines and expectations of being a DFL member.

The representative said they knew Martin's news release was coming out on Monday. The next step, the representative said, is to have a conversation with Hoff to explain why the state DFL was not supporting his campaign.

Whether or not the endorsement is rescinded or not, Hoff could still run for office, the representative said. . . .

Read the rest at the Echo Press. Minnesota Public Radio's Ellie Roth reported in Republicans criticize, state DFL disavows candidate in Minnesota House race with criminal past:

The Minnesota DFL on Monday disavowed a local party chapter’s endorsement of a Minnesota House candidate convicted of second-degree felony assault as Republicans criticized the move to back him the first place.

Democrats in Senate District 12 in northwestern Minnesota endorsed Judd Hoff over the weekend. He is running against Republican Rep. Mary Franson of Alexandria.

In August of 2020, Hoff assaulted a person with a machete after a confrontation. According to court documents, Hoff argued that he was using self-defense.

Hoff received a 13-month prison sentence. He served about eight months in the St. Cloud prison before being put on supervised release for the remainder of the sentence, which was completed in January 2023. . . . 

And finally, Alpha News' Luke Sprinkel reports in DFL disavows one of its endorsed candidates citing ‘violent and threatening behaviors’:

A local unit of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party endorsed a legislative candidate who is “a convicted violent criminal with a history of stalking and abusive behavior,” according to the House Republican Campaign Committee.

Judd Hoff won the DFL endorsement for the District 12B seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives earlier this month. District 12B is currently held by Republican Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. Hoff has run for office in the past. However, the newly-endorsed DFL candidate has become the subject of scrutiny following reports on Hoff’s criminal history and behavior toward Rep. Franson.

In 2021, Hoff was convicted of a felony following an altercation with another man in which Hoff wielded a machete in a threatening manner. Sentenced to 13 months in a correctional facility, Hoff’s sentence was a downward departure in the sentencing guidelines as he was not the initial aggressor in the incident. A separate felony charge, from a separate machete incident involving Hoff, was dismissed.

According to Rep. Franson, Hoff is a neighbor of hers who has protested the Alexandria legislator “for years.” Michael Brodkorb, an independent journalist and Republican insider, recently reported on Hoff’s behavior toward Rep. Franson.

In his reporting, Brodkorb said Hoff has “dug through Franson’s garbage,” “posted multiple pictures of Franson’s home,” publicly shared Franson’s phone number, and Hoff “knew where Franson lived when he moved into her neighborhood.” According to Brodkorb, Hoff has other convictions for disorderly conduct and damaging property. . . . 

There's more at Alpha News.

Bluestem hopes that the local Democrats rescind the endorsement--and that someone primary him regardless of that. I'm not a fan of Mary Franson's politics, but I'd seen posts Hoff made on social media--since deleted--that discussed items he found in her trash as well as other episodes with Alexandria area citizens. Just no.

Photo: Judd Hoff/Douglas County Jail, via Alpha News.

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