GOP Supreme Court candidate losing support

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The Republican candidate for Minnesota Attorney General is distancing himself from the party’s endorsed candidate for the state Supreme Court.

State Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said today that he is supporting current Justice David Lillehaug, rather than Lillehaug’s GOP challenger Michelle MacDonald.

Lillehaug is a Democrat who was appointed to the court by Gov. Mark Dayton.

MacDonald won party backing at the Republican state convention. It was later revealed that she was charged with drunk driving and resisting arrest in 2013.

Newman said in a news release that he cannot support MacDonald.

“I believe her conduct in connection with her arrest, as well as recent comments and conduct demonstrate a temperament that is inconsistent with the duties of a Supreme Court Justice,” Newman said.

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MacDonald also ran into problems today at the Minnesota State Fair. Republican Party of Minnesota officials voted yesterday to ban her from their fair booth. Security guards were on hand to make sure she stayed away. But MacDonald entered the booth twice.

"I don't think it's justice, and I don't think it's fair," MacDonald said after leaving the booth.  "I'm doing nothing wrong, and they're doing everything wrong."

MacDonald also pointed out that Republican Party Chair Keith Downey sent out a memo earlier this year telling party leaders that they must support the party’s endorsed candidates or resign their position. She said Downey should resign his position for blocking her from the party booth. An official with the party said Downey would appear at the booth to take questions, but by late afternoon he hadn't appeared.

(MPR News reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this report)