Politics and Government

Local DFL committee affirms decision to endorse Minnesota House candidate with criminal past

The Minnesota Capitol-1
The dome of the Minnesota Capitol stands out against a background of blue skies on a sunny afternoon in St. Paul on April 12.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

Updated 2:15 p.m.

A local DFL party unit in northwestern Minnesota is resisting a state party call to rescind the endorsement of a House candidate convicted of second-degree assault.

In a statement, the Minnesota Senate District 12 committee said officials there did not find sufficient cause to take action against Judd Hoff. Earlier this month, the committee endorsed Hoff in the District 12B race. Hoff is running against Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria.

In August 2020, Hoff assaulted a person with a machete after a confrontation. According to court documents, Hoff argued 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. Franson has also accused him of stalking her in the neighborhood where both live.

The DFL committee met on April 12, following condemnation from their own party as well as state Republicans, including GOP Chair David Hann.

“We encourage Mr. Hoff to raise the civility of the campaign for all involved,” said Bonnie Bina, chair of the Douglas County DFL. “SD12 recognizes our responsibility to continue to monitor the candidate’s campaign.”

Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin disavowed the local committee’s decision to endorse Hoff. In a statement, he said that his party won’t spend money on Hoff’s behalf.

Martin said in a statement earlier this month that all parties “ have a responsibility, regardless of party or ideology, to reject violence in our politics.”

In a DFL statement on Thursday, a spokesperson said, “We stand by our prior statement and strongly disagree with the local unit’s decision. Mr. Hoff’s behavior has no place in the DFL. He is unfit for office and will receive no support or resources from the state party.”

Hoff has not returned messages from MPR News.

House Republican campaign officials have said Hoff has a history of stalking and abusive behavior towards Franson, who appears to be Hoff’s neighbor in Alexandria.

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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