Tag Archives: Paul Zunker
Sen. Julianne Ortman

Ortman denied GOP endorsement for State Senate [UPDATED]

At the SD 47 GOP nominating convention last night, State Senator Julianne Ortman was not able to secure backing from 60% of the delegates after five ballots and did not earn endorsement.  The Chaska Herald has coverage of how the balloting unfolded.

On the first ballot, Ortman earned 49% of the delegates, followed by Bruce Schwichtenberg at 32% and Kevin Masrud at 19%.  Masrud dropped out at that point, throwing his support to Schwichtenberg.  Following that change, Ortman’s vote total held steady at just over half the delegates.  After five ballots, the delegates voted not to proceed with a sixth ballot.

The Herald reports indicate that the Ortman and Schwichtenberg campaigns were hitting each other hard with their literature.  Schwichtenberg accused Ortman of supporting expanded sales taxes and cap-and-trade as well as being a supporter of former Carver County GOP Chair Paul Zunker, who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in March.  Ortman raised some issues in Schwichtenberg’s past, including a bankruptcy, tax issues, and a lengthy legal battle with Carver County over a septic system.

Despite the near-deadlock in the delegate count, Schwichtenberg has not committed to running in the primary.

The party also endorsed incumbent Representatives Ernie Leidiger (by acclimation) and Joe Hoppe (a first-ballot win over challenger Gary Heyer) at the convention.

[UPDATE]:  Schwichtenberg announced today he will run in the primary.

Zunker from Twitter

Zunker pleads guilty to felony; receives work release and probation

Former Carver County GOP Chairman Paul Zunker pled guilty yesterday to one felony count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under the age of 16.  Zunker was charged in September with two counts of the crime, but one count was dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Zunker was sentenced to 90 months in jail, but as a first-time offender, that sentence is being stayed and replaced by 180 days of work release through the Carver County Jail and 15 years of supervised probation.  Zunker is subject to 16 conditions, which include:

  • No contact with the victim and his biological children until approved by the state-appointed therapist and his counseling program
  • No unsupervised contact with females under the age of 18
  • No use of the internet without approval and use of monitoring programs
  • No possession or use of pornography
  • No possession or use of alcohol or drugs and random alcohol and drug testing
  • Registration as a sex offender, including supplying a DNA sample
  • Successfully complete sex offender treatment and aftercare programs
  • Remain law-abiding

Violations of these conditions could result in Zunker being sent to prison to serve out the 90 month sentence.  Details of the sentence can be found at this link.

Walmart, Pistol Pete’s, and a Zunker update

A few items you may have missed over the holiday weekend:

  • After being denied by the Chanhassen Planning Commission earlier this month, Walmart is proceeding to tonight’s City Council meeting with a somewhat revised plan.  The revised plan includes some changes to the two entries off of Park Road, changes to the building materials and landscaping, and replacement of the pylon sign with a monument.  Additionally, Walmart has agreed to pay for the needed road improvements as part of the project.  Despite these changes, city staff is still recommending that the City Council reject the proposal.  You can read the full 214-page packet prepared for the Council on this issue here.
  • A second new restaurant will be opening in downtown Chaska — Pistol Pete’s, a barbeque restaurant, will be taking over the former MIX/Embers location in 2012.
  • Former Carver County GOP Chair Paul Zunker had his second court appearance last week.  The Chanhassen Villager reports Zunker will undergo a psychological evaluation before his next court appearance in February.
Zunker from Twitter

Carver County GOP Chair resigns following criminal sexual conduct charges [UPDATE #3 9/17]

Carver County Republican Chair Paul Zunker has resigned his post after being charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct, the Chanhassen Villager reported.

The criminal complaint, filed on Friday, accuses Zunker with two counts of criminal sexual conduct involving a person under the age of 16.

As the Villager reports:

Zunker is accused of sexually touching the alleged female victim on several occasions between Aug. 15, 2010, and Aug. 15, 2011. Zunker is accused of sexually touching the victim both over and under her clothing, according to the complaint.

The victim told him to “knock it off” or to “stop,” according to the complaint. The defendant would stop but resumed the touching later, the complaint said.

Rumors about Zunker had been circulating for several days, as his normally active Twitter feed had gone silent, his Facebook page had been scrubbed, and his LinkedIn profile had disappeared.  Zunker had been considered by some insiders to be one of the more promising folks on the Carver County GOP bench, with considerations for him potentially being a candidate for a county commissioner post or a legislative run down the road.  The Carver County GOP will elect a new chair at their BPOU meeting on Thursday.

If found guilty of both counts, Zunker could face a sentence of 90 months in jail.  Zunker’s next court appearance is scheduled for September 16.

[UPDATE]:  If you’re interested, City Pages has more detail from the criminal complaint.

[UPDATE 9/15]:  Still more details from City Pages.

[UPDATE 9/17]:  City Pages recaps what happened in Zunker’s Friday court appearance.  Meanwhile, Steve Nielsen was elected as the new chair of the Carver County Republicans Thursday evening.

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Allegations aren’t facts

Carver County GOP Chair Paul Zunker has responded to my post regarding Sen. Julianne Ortman’s support of Voter ID legislation.

Zunker lists off the usual litany of allegations that Republicans have relied on in an attempt to create the impression that there is a problem with voter fraud.  But the facts remain as I stated in every post I have written about this issue:

In fact, nearly every documented case of voter fraud in this state during the past decade can be traced back to felons attempting to vote before completing their probation, many of whom did so because they weren’t notified about the status of their voting rights.  The DFL-controlled Legislature passed a solution supported by every County Attorney in the state during the last legislative session:  send a letter to felons that clearly state whether or not they are eligible to vote.  The Republican Governor vetoed the bill.

Those are the facts.  No charges have been filed in the Crow Wing county case, no real evidence has actually emerged about thousands of dead people voting, and the alleged U of M vouching case has produced no charges.

Democrats and Republicans have spent literally millions of dollars over the last two election cycles litigating votes in the Franken-Coleman and Dayton-Emmer races.  The finest legal minds on both sides of the aisle have dug through this state’s voting records, and haven’t found any.  Don’t take it from me — take it from Fritz Knaak, Norm Coleman’s attorney, who said the following on TPT’s Almanac following the 2008 recount:

We were looking for fraud, but we didn’t find any.

Republicans could fix the only voter fraud issue that actually exists in Minnesota by adopting the legislation passed by Democrats in the last legislative session.  But instead, they are choosing to make it more difficult for Minnesotans to vote (and let there be no doubt, these provisions will result in fewer Minnesotans voting), and spending millions of dollars to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.  Ortman and the rest of legislative Republicans may have the best of intentions here, but they’re going way too far here.  We have real problems that need solving — we shouldn’t be wasting time on trumped-up ideological battles that don’t do anything to move our state forward.  

[As an aside, Zunker's post uses the phrase "want to make grandma eat dog food" in quotes shortly after an actual quote from my post.  Let me be perfectly clear:  I have never used that phrase, much less say or imply that is a Republican position.]


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