-- Update at bottom --
New mailers paid for by the Minnesota Republican Party allege that Democrats in the legislature are "weakening penalties for dangerous drunk drivers."
At issue is a bill signed into law earlier this year that requires people with multiple DUI convictions to use an ignition interlock device when they start driving again, thereby preventing them from even starting their cars if they are impaired. The bill was supported by MADD and approved unanimously in the Senate.
But the mailers, which DFL officials say have shown up in about a half-dozen races, make it sound as though Democrats somehow want to make it easier for repeat drunk drivers to get behind the wheel.
Here are some examples:
In a statement, DFL Speaker of the House Paul Thissen (D-Minneapolis) says, "Just one week after Republicans attempted to use the tragic story of Eric Dean for political gain, they are continuing to sink to new lows in a desperate attempt to mislead voters and win votes."
"These last-minute attacks are designed to leave candidates with no time to respond and set the record straight, and they are shameful," he continues. "Republicans are showing once again that they will do anything, and say anything, to regain control of the Minnesota House in order to serve corporate special interests."
"I hope Minnesotans take the time to consider the facts -- and if they do, I am confident they will support House Democrats who, along with many Republican legislators, voted in many ways to make Minnesota safer for our children, families and communities."
Thissen's sentiment is echoed by Nancy Johnson, legislative liaison for Minnesotans for Safe Driving, who says, "The idea that the legislature was being soft on drunk drivers when they passed a bill in 2014 which allowed those arrests and/or convictions of CVO to have ignition interlock available to them is ridiculous."
:::: UPDATE ::::
In a news release distributed today, MNGOP officials defend the mailers. You can read more about that here.