Michelle MacDonald, the Republican-endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, was ticketed in Wright County last week for violating the terms of her limited license as she awaits trial for alleged drunken driving and resisting arrest.
According to court records, on Aug. 1 a law enforcement officer encountered a stalled vehicle near Monticello, where the driver was identified from a campaign sticker as Michelle MacDonald. The vehicle was registered to her. MacDonald told the officer she went to St. Cloud to meet her campaign manager.
“She is running for MN Supreme Court, licensed attorney,” the officer notes read. “No office in St. Cloud per her. Changed story a couple of time(s), then pleaded with me not to cite her.”
MacDonald was ticketed for violating the terms of a limited license, a misdemeanor, although the notes do not say why she was cited. Her vehicle, which had overheated, was towed to Monticello.
Under Minnesota law, drivers who have had their license suspended may apply for a limited license that allows them to travel to work with restrictions on hours or areas where a driver may travel. MacDonald said Thursday that the incident occurred at 11 a.m., on Interstate 94, when she was within her restrictions of driving from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. She said she flagged down help and was approached by a state trooper.
“He never took my driver’s license or ID, but I showed him some campaign materials on my passenger seat and told him I was running for Supreme Court justice,” MacDonald said in an interview Thursday. MacDonald said she was never told why she was violating the terms of her restricted license.
MacDonald, a family law attorney who was endorsed at the Republican Party’s convention in May, faces trial in September for a 2013 arrest in which police allege she resisted arrest and refused a breath test after an officer said he smelled alcohol during a traffic stop.
State Republican Party leaders said they did not know about the arrest when delegates endorsed MacDonald. Most members of the party’s Judicial Election Committee have remained steadfast in their support of MacDonald while criticizing party leaders for not backing her. Committee members have said they knew of MacDonald’s pending case when they presented her for endorsement. MacDonald is running against Justice David Lillehaug, who was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton and is seeking a second term.
“We were impressed by her qualifications and believed that her candidacy and message would ‘go viral’ because of the abuse she has received at the hands of the judges, prosecutors and other employees of the Dakota County judicial system,” read a recent e-mail to delegates signed by most committee members.
MacDonald said she still intends to take her case to trial and expects an acquittal.