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Is an 11-year-old traffic stop newsworthy?

On Thursday, we published a story on Page 2A about how Tim Walz, the Democratic candidate for the 1st District House seat held by Republican Gil Gutknecht, was stopped and ticketed 11 years ago for what turned out to be a reckless driving charge.

The incident was first reported this week on the Republican blog Minnesota Democrats Exposed, run by Republican activist Michael Brodkorb.

We thought the story was interesting and newsworthy for a few reasons. Though it occurred more than a decade ago, it was a significant traffic stop that initially was considered a DWI case. Walz was tagged for driving 96 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone. He was jailed after failing a field sobriety test. According to court documents and a Walz campaign official, the DWI charge was amended to reckless driving in part because of a hearing impairment.

So there are some weird details about this traffic stop that we thought were worth reporting.

The fact that this incident was dug up by a Republican blogger also is worth noting, in my book. At this point in the campaign, some people might consider it a cheap shot and dirty trick. The Walz campaign, to my knowledge, hasn't called it that, which is interesting all by itself. In any case, it's part of the political atmosphere and we thought it was worth getting in the paper.

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The Walz campaign hasn't complained about the story, which has generated plenty of aggressive reader comments online.

I'm not aware of another paper that's picked up the story, to this point.

What do you think? Was it newsworthy?

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