Politics and Government

Republicans criticize, state DFL disavows candidate in Minnesota House race with criminal past

The Minnesota Capitol2
The dome of the Minnesota Capitol stands out against a background of blue skies on a sunny afternoon in St. Paul.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

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.

“I have asked the local unit in question to withdraw their endorsement immediately,” said state DFL Chair Ken Martin in a written statement.

Hoff has been convicted of misdemeanors on several other occasions. He didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Republicans, including the state party Chair David Hann, issued statements condemning the DFL endorsement. The chair of the House Republican Campaign Committee, Rep. Josh Heintzeman, said Hoff has a history of stalking and abusive behavior towards Franson, who appears to be Hoff’s neighbor in Alexandria.

“This man belongs nowhere near the ballot and the DFL should make clear that this behavior will not be tolerated,” Heintzeman said.

The Minnesota DFL party said it wants the local backing withdrawn. In the statement issued Monday afternoon, Martin said Hoff’s violent and threatening behavior doesn’t belong in the party.

“The Minnesota DFL will not spend any of our resources on behalf of Mr. Hoff,” Martin said. “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 party leaders were unavailable for comment on their next steps.

The House race is not among those viewed as competitive. Franson won a seventh term in 2022 with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

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