Minnesota House candidate says he suffered concussion in 'politically motivated' attack at restaurant

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A Minnesota House candidate said he suffered a concussion after he was attacked at a restaurant last week – all because of his political beliefs.

Shane Mekeland, the Republican nominee for District 15B, was allegedly assaulted at an unidentified restaurant in St. George Township Friday between 9 and 10 p.m. During the altercation, the man allegedly “punched” Mekeland in the face, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The alleged attacker was a man who was a “much, much bigger person” who “did not seem dangerous” when he first began to talk to Mekeland about his campaign, the candidate told the Star Tribune. But after some conversation, Mekeland said the stranger made a “typically politically charged statement” that was “in reference to politicians not caring about the middle class.”

A suspect has been identified, although he has not been arrested or charged with a crime at this time, according to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Mekeland told the Star Tribune law enforcement officials had informed him the alleged attacker had admitted to the assault.

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“While I had never met my assailant, the words he yelled at me before he attacked me lead me to believe his actions were politically motivated,” Mekeland said in a Facebook post. “When I chose to run for office, I expected to be politically attacked, but never physically.”

“I weighed whether or not to share this today, but ultimately I think we all need a reminder to be civil to each other regardless of our perspectives,” he said.

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In response to a comment on the post, Mekeland blamed “the media and the likes of Maxine Waters, Hillary [Clinton] and Eric Holder” for “driving this behavior.”

Benton County is located in the middle of Minnesota, just northeast of St. Cloud. Mekeland faces Democrat Karla Scapanski and independent Myron Wilson in the election.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.