Party games

class=img_thumbleft>The Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party is playing hardball with former State Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge. Yesterday the DFL's lawyer, Alan Weinblatt, sent a letter to the 5th Congressional District candidate demanding that the party's name be removed from all "billboards, websites, and other campaign materials, forthwith."

In May the DFL endorsed state Rep. Keith Ellison for the reliably Democratic congressional seat, which has been held by Rep. Martin Sabo for 28 years. But that did little to thin the field heading into September's primary. There are three other DFL'ers running substantive campaigns: Minneapolis City Council member Paul Ostrow, former state DFL party chair Mike Erlandson, and Reichgott Junge.

Marshall Tanick, an attorney representing the Reichgott Junge campaign, says that the complaint is meritless. "All she's doing is telling them that she's a DFLer and what primary she's running in," he says. "There's no effort here to imply any endorsement." [See example of the campaign materials below]

Weinblatt, of course, has a different opinion, citing three Minnesota Supreme Court cases that he says back up the DFL's complaint. "The state Supreme Court disagrees with him, but he's entitled to his opinion," Weinblatt says.

The DFL party has two options for pressing the issue if Reichgott Judge doesn't back down. It can either file a criminal complaint with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office or submit a grievance with the Office of Administrative Hearings. "If that's the positon they're going to take then it will be up to the client to make the decision," says Weinblatt.