Tad Jude pivoted from seeking the Republican endorsement for Attorney General to running for Hennepin County Attorney as a Republican. His campaign theme is ‘make crime illegal again’. Jude’s campaign website is judeforhennepin.com
Current Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election.
When Jude addressed a crowd of supporters at a fundraiser, he emphasized the wealth of experience he has over his opponents, and the failure of the County Attorney’s office to actually prosecute crime – hence his campaign theme. Jude pointed to Hennepin County’s failure to prosecute crimes and apparent desire to release violent criminals back to the streets almost immediately after they were charged as a symptom of the "rot" in the County Attorney’s office.
Alpha News recently did a ride-along with Minneapolis Police. During the ride-along Sergeant Schroeder was called to arrest a man who has been on the run for months after failing to show up for prison following his nine-year sentence for a previous shooting. After the successful arrest, the Sergeant was asked how many similar fugitives he thought were loose in Minneapolis. He answered, “Hundreds.” (Video , at 4:25). The next stop involved a car with three young men in it. One had been arrested the day before for a shooting and was already out on bail; another was out on bail pending his trial for murder. The Sergeant said that “People [criminals] know that if you get caught [committing a crime] with a gun in Anoka County, you are in way more trouble than if you get caught in Hennepin county.” The Sergeant told the Alpha News reporter that one young man shot two innocent bystanders at a corner the police car was passing; he had nine felonies, and was out on bond (same URL, 6:00).
That’s what Tad Jude means by ‘making crime illegal again’ – he wants to keep accused violent criminals in jail until they are tried and found guilty or innocent.
The Hennepin County Attorney race is crowded – besides Jude, DFL-endorsed Ryan Winkler (the current Minnesota House Majority Leader), Mary Moriarty (former Hennepin County chief public defender) and four others are on the August 9 Primary ballot. Jude says he is the only Republican running.
Jude singled out Moriarty as especially unfit to hold the County Attorney’s office. Moriarty was put on paid leave in 2019 when allegations surfaced that she made the public defender’s office a toxic work environment and made "inappropriate comments" to staffers. In a hearing a year later, the State refused to renew her contract, mostly based on testimony by the Chief State Public Defender that Moriarty was …a divisive, ineffectual leader whose “willingness to utilize the press against her justice partners” and “bitter manner in almost every encounter” had alienated her from her peers.
Jude also emphasized that public defenders should never lead the prosecutor’s office – and added that prosecutors should never lead the public defender’s office, either.
Jude spoke at a fundraiser hosted by John and Pat Tschohl who deserve thanks for hosting several candidates’ fundraisers already this year. Your SD50 Newsletter reporter has been to several – enough that I’ve gotten to watch Pat’s newest litter of puppies grow up. We owe them a debt of gratitude for opening their lovely home to our candidates.
Jude’s remarks focused on his strong resume. At the time of his first election to the Minnesota in 1972, he was the youngest person ever to serve in the legislature. He served five terms in the MN House, including chairing the house judiciary committee, and two terms in the MN Senate. Jude also served as a Hennepin County Commissioner. He later sat for ten years as a district court judge in Washington County.
I asked Jude whether after his time on the court bench he agreed with Sergeant Schroeder that catch-and-release for violent offenders attracted them to Hennepin County over counties where “crime was still illegal”. He emphatically agreed with Sergeant Schroeder. “Of course he’s right. In their own way criminals are smart. They know the law and where things are tougher for them. Why commit a violent crime in Anoka when the same crime in Hennepin sees you back on the street the day after you are arrested?”
Republican endorsed candidate for House District 50B, Beth Beebe, also attended the fundraiser and said she is aligning her campaign with Jude because she strongly supports making crime illegal again.
Jude asked all Republicans to talk to their friends and vote in the primary election on August 9. The County Attorney’s Office is a non-partisan race, but Jude pointed out that all the other candidates are DFL and that Ryan Winkler has the DFL endorsement. You can vote early now at your city hall.