MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Primary election day statewide
ST. PAUL -- This is Primary Election Day in Minnesota and there a few contested statewide races this year.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie reminds voters you can only participate in the primary for one of the state's three major political parties. Ritchie says for partisan races, voters have to stay in their party's column on the ballot once they start marking their choices. He notes Minnesota does not register voters by party affiliation and everyone gets the same ballot. The back side of the ballot includes the local, non-partisan races. Voters are choosing which one of four Republicans -- either GOP-endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson, or Republican challengers Scott Honour, Marty Seifert or Kurt Zellers -- will take on Democratic-Farm Labor Governor Mark Dayton. And Independence Party candidate for governor Kevin Terrell has four IP challengers. In the U.S. Senate race, GOP-endorsed candidate Mike McFadden is being challenged for a spot on the November ballot by fellow Republicans Jim Abeler and David Carlson. The winner goes up against Democratic-Farm Labor Senator Al Franken. And State Auditor Rebecca Otto, who received the DFL Party endorsement, faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Matt Entenza. There are also primary races in the 1st Congressional District, where GOP-endorsed candidate Aaron Miller is being challenged by fellow Republican Jim Hagedorn and in the 6th District, where Rhonda Sivarajah is challenging endorsed candidate Tom Emmer for the Republican spot on the November ballot.
Not long after spending time at a Minnesota rehab, actor and comedian Robin Williams has died at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide. He was found dead yesterday in his San Francisco home. In early July, it was reported that Williams had checked into the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center near Lindstrom to help maintain his sobriety. The actor's career spanned nearly four decades and included roles in many popular films like "Good Will Hunting", "Aladdin", and "Mrs Doubtfire".
A firestorm erupted on Twitter on the eve of Minnesota's primary election after what began as an innocent enough post concerning the tragic death of actor Robin Williams. Minnesota DFL Party official Ellen Anderson was one of thousands to express grief on the social media site over the death of the 63-year-old actor - and current deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party Chris Fields responded to the Tweet with, "How very 80's. Want an economy like we had in 80's under Reagan...Vote @Jeff4Gov tomorrow in the primary." Criticism was quick and widespread, accusing Fields of using Williams's death to try to score political points. Minnesota House Democrat Carly Melin Tweeted the question, "What's wrong with you?" Former Deputy Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party Michael Brodkorb suggested that Fields step away from his computer, adding that there was no, "logical reason to use Robin Williams' tragic death to solicit votes."
Police in Duluth continue to investigate the events that led to an officer involved shooting during a domestic violence call. The wife of the victim apparently called 911 and told dispatchers that her 34-year-old husband had cut himself during an argument. Officers say he barricaded himself in a room in the basement of the home, with blood seeping out under the door, telling them he wanted to die. Concerned for the man's safety, police rushed in but the man refused to drop the knife he was holding. One officer fired a shot, and the man was rushed to the hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition. The officer is on paid leave, which is department policy after such an incident.
The Minnesota Vikings say they expect nose tackle Linval Joseph to make a full recovery after he was shot at a downtown Minneapolis nightclub early Saturday morning. Eight others were injured, two seriously, when a gunman fired shots in what police believe was a gang-related incident. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said at Mankato training camp Monday that Joseph was an innocent bystander and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Spielman says the team is "very fortunate" that he was not seriously hurt. He says the Vikings want to send their thoughts and prayers to all the victims of the shooting. The shooter remains at large.
Attorneys representing one of two hockey players accused of using a minor to make a sex video in Moorhead want the two defendants tried separately. Defense lawyers argue in the "interests of justice" Thomas Carey of Moorhead deserves a separate trial from Brandon Smith. Each is charged with using a minor in a sexual performance, plus possessing and distributing child pornography Prosecutors say the video was made in February when the Lincoln Stars were in town for a hockey match against the Fargo Force. Both defendants remain free on bond.
A Minneapolis man has been shot by police in Des Moines who say he struck an officer with his car. Leroy Bradley is accused of trying to flee the Cozy Rest Motel early Monday and pinning Officer Dusty Rains against her patrol car. Rains and Officer Shawn Herman shot Bradley who then surrendered. The 34-year-old driver is set to receive multiple charges. He was also said to be driving a stolen car.
_____________________________A Mankato man has died while scuba diving over the weekend in Michigan. The Cheboygan County Sheriff's office says 64-year-old Dennis Javens reportedly died because his tank ran out of air while he was scuba diving in the Straits of Mackinaw in Michigan. Authorities believe Javens was underwater for 20-minutes before he was brought back up.
A motorcycle vs. truck accident has taken the life of a Linwood man. The crash happened in Linwood Township Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Fawn Lake Drive and Julliard Street. The Anoka County Sheriff's Office says the man riding the motorcycle struck the truck while it was attempting a left turn. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead the scene. His name has not yet been released by authorities.
State health officials say there are still no confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Minnesota, although they are working on a couple possible investigations. The Minnesota Health Department's Dave Neitzel says we usually have at least a couple human cases by now, and cooler-than-normal weather could be the reason for the delay. He says there was a lot of activity last year -- 80 cases including three deaths -- and they're hoping for a 2014 that's not quite as busy. Neitzel says it's important to continue wearing mosquito repellent in August and early September, especially at dusk and dawn.