MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Law enforcement officials say they're investigating two different attacks on Republican political candidates in Minnesota over the weekend.
A Republican candidate for Minnesota House in District 15B, Shane Mekeland, said he suffered a concussion when he was attacked while campaigning at a restaurant in St. George Township last Friday. Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck says his office is investigating the alleged assault.
Mekeland say his assailant made remarks that suggested the attack was politically motivated.
In another case in Plymouth, Rep. Sarah Anderson says a man punched her in the arm after she confronted him about kicking some of her yard signs Sunday. Anderson says police have tentatively identified the man she captured on her cellphone and planned to interview him Tuesday.
She said the attack was terrifying, and that her attacker stopped only after she ran to her car and backed away. Anderson talked to the Washington Free Beacon about the attack. "It was just insane. He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don't you go kill yourself?'" she said. "To have someone physically coming after you and attacking you is just disheartening."
A spokeswoman with the local police department confirmed that a suspect has been identified, but declined further comment.
Mekeland said police already interviewed his alleged attacker, but police have not released his identity because no charges have been filed as of Wednesday.
Both candidates said they would be continuing their campaign activities, albeit with extra caution. Mekeland is no longer conducting door-to-door activities alone, while Anderson said she has alerted her husband to her location at all times and is campaigning with volunteers.
The attacks against Republicans come as many top figures in the Democrat Party — including Rep. Maxine Waters (R-CA), Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton — have encouraged activists to carry out uncivil behavior against conservatives and President Trump’s supporters.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has suspended communications staffer William Davis for one week without pay after making a Facebook post joking that Democrats would "bring [Republicans] to the guillotine" on Nov. 7, the day after the midterm elections.
The head of the Minnesota Republican Party says the suspension is not enough.
Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Carnahan says he should be fired, and also says that she has been subjected to numerous death threats during her tenure as chairman. "The overt hatred and violence that has become prevalent from many Democrats towards Republicans in recent times is unlawful, unacceptable, and downright scary," she said in an email. "Yes, we have free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but these words and actions by the left have gone too far. He should have been terminated immediately."
The Associated Press and Washington Free Beacon contributed to this report