Joe Radinovich

Joe Radinovich, DFL candidate for District 8 U.S. House of Reps.

DULUTH — A U.S. House candidate is applying legal pressure to try to stop the airing of what his campaign calls a “false and misleading” special-interest television advertisement.

The ad created waves in the race for Congress in the 8th District this week by revealing Democrat Joe Radinovich had a minor drug-related charge on his record.

A lawyer for the Radinovich campaign sent eight two-page letters to television stations broadcasting the Congressional Leadership Fund advertisement, which is titled “Fast times” and outlines a history of what it describes as “crimes.”

“Minnesota law makes it abundantly clear that in the overwhelming number of cases, Mr. Radinovich was not charged with a ‘crime’ at all, and to explicitly state otherwise is patently false,” said the letter from the national firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen.

Radinovich is in a heated battle with Republican Pete Stauber for the open seat in the 8th District. Independence Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman is also running.

So far in the lead-up to November’s midterm election, Radinovich has responded to multiple claims from the CLF, a heavily funded super PAC in support of Republican candidates for Congress.

In August, Radinovich, 32, took responsibility for a series of more than 30 parking tickets and moving violations in the past 15 years, and, this week, admitted to a 13-year-old possession of drug paraphernalia charge that was dismissed by the court as part of a plea agreement.

“Public records show that Radinovich has not been ‘charged with 18 crimes,’ ” said the letter, referring to a line in the TV advertisement. “This statement is demonstrably false.”

The letter also outlines four incidents of misdemeanors, including a pair of driving after suspensions, a driving after revocation and unauthorized parking at a state parking facility.

“I reject that they’re a character issue,” Radinovich said about his history of moving violations and parking tickets.

The CLF said in releasing the ad that it would air on Minneapolis television stations, meaning it could reach households throughout the southern half of the district.

“This advertisement is false, misleading, and deceptive,” the attorney’s letter said. “We ask that you refuse to continue to air this advertisement.”

It’s not yet known how effective the letter will be in convincing stations to take down the ad.

Said Radinovich spokesman Bennett Smith: “We are hopeful that because of the extreme falsity of the ad it will be taken down.”


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