A former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives running to recapture his old seat is facing accusations of violating the state’s Fair Campaign Practices law.
In a Sunday press release, the Scott County Republican Party of Minnesota asserted that Bob Loonan, a Shakopee insurance agent who previously served as a Republican state representative from 2015 to 2019, has falsely claimed the party’s endorsement and misled voters on the nature of his candidacy.
Images of campaign literature obtained by the Scott County GOP show Loonan claiming to be “Republican Endorsed.” The literature also refers to Loonan’s “re-election,” even though he has not been in office for three-and-a-half years and is thus not an incumbent.
The campaign flyer appears to be an old piece of literature that Loonan recycled for his current campaign, since it references his House committee assignments.
Alpha News reached out to Loonan’s campaign for comment but has not yet received a reply.
According to the Minnesota Statutes, “a person or candidate may not knowingly make, directly or indirectly, a false claim stating or implying that a candidate or ballot question has the support or endorsement of a major political party or party unit or of an organization.”
In addition, “a person or candidate may not, in the event of redistricting, use the term ‘reelect’ in a campaign for elective office unless the candidate is the incumbent of that office and the office represents any part of the new district.”
The press release says Republicans are working to hold Loonan “accountable” for his endorsement claim.
Scott County GOP spokesman Dale Even wrote in a statement that “it’s not good when a guy that holds himself out to be a law and order guy repeatedly breaks the law.”
“This is bad on so many levels. Bob has been known for violations of Campaign Finance laws in 2018; fined $10,000 for falsifying educational hours in 2015; and suspended from being allowed to teach education classes by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Now Bob has violated the Fair Campaign Practices law,” he said.
“At a time when public trust in our institutions is low, Bob Loonan is trying to deceive Republicans with false claims of a Republican Endorsement. Bob’s actions are truly shameful and deceitful. Bob will be held accountable for his damaging and illegal behavior,” Even added.
Even said “these types of offenses are gross misdemeanors,” punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3000 fine.
As of Monday morning, Loonan was also claiming on his website to be endorsed by the NRA and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. MCCL told Alpha News that Loonan has been endorsed by the organization in the past, but the group hasn’t released its endorsements yet for this election cycle.
The NRA and MCCL endorsements were scrubbed from Loonan’s website sometime Monday afternoon.
Even noted that the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office distributes Fair Campaign Practices information to candidates so that they are aware of fair campaigning laws.
Loonan is running in District 54A against incumbent Erik Mortensen, who successfully primaried Loonan in the 2018 midterms but lost in the general election. Then in 2020, Loonan and Mortensen faced off for a second time. Loonan again lost in the primary and Mortensen went on to win in the general.
The Scott County GOP did not endorse either Loonan or Mortensen at its convention this year.