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Candidate accuses Day employee of violating campaign practices act

By Dawn Schuett

schuett@postbulletin.com

WABASHA -- A Republican candidate for the Minnesota Senate District 28 seat has filed a complaint alleging an employee of state Sen. Dick Day violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

Steve Drazkowski of Wabasha sent the complaint by certified mail Friday to the State of Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings in Minneapolis.

In the complaint, Drazkowski claims that Daniel Richard Nelson of Chanhassen, Minn., prepared slanderous flyers mailed days before the district's endorsing convention in April. Nelson works for Day, a Republican senator from Owatonna.

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Drazkowski has requested that a probable cause hearing in the matter be held within three business days.

The mailing included a police photo of Drazkowski and a false headline that Drazkowski abused his daughter. The headline was publicized as coming from the "Winona Daily News," but it was taken from a Web log, according to the complaint.

Drazkowski was acquitted by a Wabasha County jury in January of fifth-degree domestic assault, allegations that involved his teenage daughter.

"Daniel Richard Nelson intended to injure and defeat Steve Drazkowski in the Senate District 28 Endorsing Convention by falsifying information distributed on the slander mailing," the complaint states.

Although Nelson is the only respondent named in the complaint, Drazkowski contends that others, including Day, the leadership of the Goodhue County GOP, the Senate Republican Caucus and senate candidates, were involved in an attempt to defeat his candidacy.

In an article published June 10 in the "Red Wing Republican Eagle," the chairman of the Goodhue County GOP, Howard Stenerson, said Drazkowski could have mailed the flyers himself.

Messages left for Nelson, Day and the Goodhue County GOP chairman were not immediately returned.

"It's implicitly obvious that they didn't want me to be the endorsed candidate, but rather were supporting someone else," Drazkowski said Friday afternoon. He said he believes that person was Meg Walch of Red Wing. Steve Wilson of Lake City received the endorsement.

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"I believe that mailing cost us the endorsement," Drazkowski said.

Wilson and Drazkowski will face off in the September primary to determine who challenges Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, in the November election.

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