Banker Brad Sanford is the Republican candidate running against the DFL's Jerry Newton for the open state Senate seat in District 37, which includes Blaine, Spring Lake Park, and part of Coon Rapids.
He touts the party line of spending discipline and financial responsibility. But Sanford seems to have a hard time practicing it when it comes to supporting his kids.
Back in 2009, rust corroded Brad and Laura Sanford's marriage to the point of divorce. Among the details of the bankrupted marriage were two minor children, daughters ages 11 and 15. The parents shared legal responsibility while Laura received sole physical custody. Brad was awarded the "right to liberal parenting time."
He was also court ordered to pay $1,500 per month for child support and health care premiums. But according to Laura, he paid less than half that figure since the court's ruling.
After the Sanfords' youngest daughter graduated from high school last year, Laura decided to file for $44,000 in deliquent back support. According to her affidavit filed earlier this year, she chose to wait until both kids had become legal adults because "Bradley told the children this last Christmas that 'there would be no presents' because your mother is pursuing me for child support.
"I did not want to have the children deal with the fall out."
Laura's statement also said her ex had "routinely paid less than half of his… support obligations" between 2010 and 2016. According to Laura, Brad owed almost $24,000 in child support and another $23,000 in health and dental care premiums.
Brad would offer a confused response to the suit. His March 2016 affidavit alleges he and Laura had verbally agreed to reduce his support long ago to a monthly $750. (Laura denies this.) He'd admit he never paid a nickel for the girls' health care bills because he'd "never received any information or documentation on these premiums."
Court documents show that while Brad had earned an annual salary of $90,000 while working at a bank, he'd recently been "involuntarily terminated." They also have Brad conceding he'd fallen behind financially supporting his daughters "due to some employment and other work issues."
At the time of Brad's March affidavit, he said, "I am currently unemployed. I do, however, drive Uber a couple nights a week. I am working on changing careers."
Which is certainly a far cry from the candidate whose "education and leadership helped him become a staple in the financial world of Minnesota, being a lead producer for many banks and mortgage lenders," according to a Republican Party website.
Brad, who now works as an insurance agent, would contest Laura's case. He countered by claiming he only owed $24,000.
Last month, Anoka County ruled that Brad owes $24,000 in delinquent child support and another $23,000 in never-paid medical expenses, plus interest. The total now stands at $44,000 and change after he made payments of $2,250, court records show.
"Things in life don't always go as planned," he says. "I paid as much as I could at the time and I'll continue to pay until my debt is paid off. I'll take care of my kids until the day I die."