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Stephen Montemayor

Reporter | Politics and Government
Phone: 612-673-1755
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Stephen Montemayor covers politics and government in Minnesota. He previously reported on federal courts and law enforcement for the Star Tribune.


A native of Kansas City, Montemayor lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two cats. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism and enjoys camping, travel and a good beer.
Recent content from Stephen Montemayor
My Pillow founder Michael Lindell spoke at a Trump rally in Rochester in October 2018.

MyPillow inventor open to speculation about 2022 bid for Minnesota governor

Mike Lindell has been one of Trump's loudest boosters in Minnesota.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, was among three Republican House members and three GOP senators who signed the letter.

GOP lawmakers press for first Minn. 'Second Amendment sanctuary'

Several leading Republican lawmakers in Minnesota are asking officials in Sherburne County to "provide leadership" on gun-owner rights by designating their central Minnesota county the state's first "Second Amendment sanctuary."
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka met with members of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus in April. GOP lawmakers will gather in Hibbing on Tuesday to d

Republicans kick off fight over Minnesota gun laws in Hibbing

The GOP bills taking shape just weeks before the Legislature convenes stand in sharp contrast to existing DFL plans to expand criminal background checks and institute "red flag" laws.
"I Voted" stickers sat beside a vote counting machine in St. Paul in 2017.

What you need to know before Minnesota's first presidential primary since 1992

Early voting starts Jan. 17, barring complications from court challenge.
Democratic presidential candidates former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, left, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., right, talk during a break Tuesday,

In a precarious spot, Sen. Amy Klobuchar presses her case in Iowa

With time running out, Klobuchar has sought to present herself as a moderate alternative to the top tier's most left-leaning candidates.
Some pundits say presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., offers voters a comfortable moderate choice.

Can Amy Klobuchar capitalize on the Iowa debate?

The slimmer field offers a chance for more airtime and a longer look from voters still making up their minds.
In a three-page order issued a few hours after the high court heard oral arguments Thursday, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote that the petitioners cla

Court allows Minn. GOP's primary ballot with only Trump

The quick ruling came in a case that threatened to disrupt the start of early primary voting next week.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

CenturyLink to pay back $8.9M to Minnesota customers

Attorney General Keith Ellison says the company overbilled as many as 300,000 Minnesotans.
Democratic presidential candidate, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, chats with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney at a coffee shop in Richmond,

Michael Bloomberg to make first campaign stop in Minnesota on Wednesday

The presidential candidate is spending heavily on the airwaves ahead of the state's Super Tuesday primary.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson could be at risk if Minnesota loses a congressional seat, but it’s a bit too early for such speculation.

Which Minnesota representative is out if we lose a House seat?

It's not just about losing clout in Congress and the Electoral College.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Top DFLers, state party defend law allowing Trump-only GOP primary ballots

State Supreme Court will hear arguments in the ballot challenge on Jan. 9.
Laws that take effect on Jan. 1 will require classes on opioid prescribing and regulations for pharmacy “middlemen.”

2020 brings new laws to Minnesota

Pharmacy benefit managers, people who prescribe opioids and those who traffic in imported animal parts are affected.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison met with community members at a discussion hosted by Residents Organizing Against Racism on Aug. 20, 2019, in

Keith Ellison's first year as attorney general: 'I'm just doing me, man'

One year in, AG Keith Ellison's activist imprint includes task forces, listening sessions and an ambitious agenda.
Erick Kaardal has made suing the government a quixotic legal quest

Erick Kaardal has made suing the government a quixotic legal quest

Erick Kaardal likes to channel Don Quixote when he enters a courtroom, which he does frequently in connection with some two dozen lawsuits he may…

Petition takes aim at state GOP's decision to limit 2020 primary choices to President Trump

Attorney calls the current state process unconstitutional.
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber acknowledged President Donald Trump’s recognition at the Trump rally at Target Center in October.

Pete Stauber consolidates GOP grip on former DFL stronghold

He has garnered enough support in the district that experts at the Cook Political Report have graded the district as "likely Republican" in 2020.
Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz to Trump on refugees: 'The inn is not full in Minnesota'

Governor gives consent to refugee resettlement after new executive order by the president.

Woman sues over denial of emergency contraceptives at two Minn. pharmacies

McGregor woman said she had to drive 50 miles through snow to find pharmacy willing to provide pill.
The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County, seeks to declare Juul responsible for “creating a public nuisance” in Minnesota and violating the state’s

Minnesota sues e-cigarette maker Juul over youth marketing

The governor and attorney general describe the litigation as a sequel to landmark 1990s tobacco case.
Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg's Minnesota largesse preceded presidential bid

Bloomberg's wealth could position him as a viable challenger to President Donald Trump, but he poses a more immediate threat to other moderates.
State Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Roseville DFL Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn took a tour recently at the state women�

Minnesota's next big probation policy debate starts this month

The Sentencing Guidelines Commission meets Dec. 19 over whether to formally urge lawmakers to limit the maximum probation felony offenders can receive.
DFL Chair Ken Martin says a pledge could help set the party apart from Republicans on a key election security issue.

Ahead of 2020, Dems wrestle with how to disavow disinformation tactics

State party leaders have urged the Democratic National Committee to adopt such a pledge, but others are privately worried that it would put the party at a disadvantage against a president who has repeatedly trafficked in doctored videos and retweeted false stories.
Amy Klobuchar gestures to an audience at a breakfast event on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Atlanta. Klobuchar, along with Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker,

Presidential candidates, including Amy Klobuchar, vie for black vote

Voters now have a glimpse of at least one Klobuchar strategy to make inroads in the African-American community: a focus on voting rights.

Gov. Tim Walz calls for public hearings on dueling insulin plans

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday made a second call in as many months for public legislative hearings on a state insulin assistance program as…
Erin Preese, in back, held her daughter Scarlett, then 3, as she joined others with Moms Demand Action at the Capitol in 2016.

Will gun policy swing Minnesota's 2020 elections?

Candidates and voters are motivated by issue.
Lola Velazquez-Aguilu leads the Judicial Selection Commission, which guides Gov. Tim Walz.

Gov. Tim Walz builds on diversity in the state courts

More than a third of his judicial picks have been people of color, more than half women.
Michael Bloomberg

University of Minnesota scraps Bloomberg lecture, citing his likely candidacy

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs said that it had to "reassess the possibility of hosting" its Distinguished Carlson Lecture.
Surveillance video at Salaam Mosque in northeast Minneapolis shows an individual smashing a glass door in the mosque.

Attack on Minneapolis mosque comes as reports of hate crimes drop

Experts urge better reporting and training to identify bias motivate crimes.
“Minnesota’s voters, regardless of political affiliation, should not have their choices limited by a small group of party leaders,” said state R

After GOP locks out Trump rivals, DFLers push to open ballot

With less than a month separating the start of the next legislative session and Super Tuesday, two DFLers hope their proposal can advance in time to impact the 2020 presidential primary.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, center, said there is a growing realization of the damage that hate crimes cause both the victims and the community,

When is a crime a hate crime?

In Minnesota, it depends on who you ask.
Minnesota Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell.

Minnesota House member challenges vote on probation caps

Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, accused Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell of violating state open meeting laws.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

Minnesota attorney general moves to combat hate crimes after statewide tour

New legislation expected when Legislature reconvenes in February.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, front, with Assistant Commissioner Booker Hodges.

Minnesota BCA adds liaison to aid victims, families of police encounters

The position, referred to as a "victim, family and community relations coordinator," is the first of its kind to be deployed full-time at the agency.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Minnesota joins legal challenge of Trump rollbacks of Endangered Species Act

Attorney General Keith Ellison joins 19 state attorneys general, New York City in federal lawsuit.
"Literally anybody can get brought into the movement," Schoep said from his Detroit home. "... There's no one type of person susceptible to this type

Former neo-Nazi with Minn. roots speaks out against white nationalist violence

Former Nazi leader now speaking out against white nationalist terrorism.
Katherine Schafer, left, of Protect Minnesota and Jack Johnson of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus discussed two bills that would expand background che

Support remains high in state for universal background checks

More than 8 out of 10 Minnesota voters favor expanding criminal background checks to cover all gun sales, including those sold privately or at gun shows. That support cut across ideological, geographic and demographic lines.
Judge Edward J. Cleary at his swearing-in ceremony in November 2013.

Minn. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward Cleary to retire in 2020

Edward Cleary, second longest-serving chief judge, announced decision on Tuesday.
In this March 5 photo, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., speaks during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in

Tina Smith starts U.S. Senate race with cash lead over Jason Lewis

The Republican Lewis fends off questions about contributions from operatives accused of seeking to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.
President Donald Trump’s campaign already has 20 paid staffers in Minnesota, with a goal of having about 100 by next year.

Trump rally jumpstarts GOP push for Minnesota

GOP plans to spend up to $30 million in bid to win first Minn. presidential race since19'72.
A group of about 30 Trump supporters gathered for a rally at noon Wednesday outside Mayor Jacob Frey's office in City Hall, to show "how displeased th

Trump backers rally at City Hall against Mayor Jacob Frey

Supporters of President Donald Trump protested Wednesday outside the City Hall office of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has been in a public spat with the Trump campaign over the $530,000 security bill for Thursday's Target Center rally.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention on Aug. 21 in Altoona, Iowa.

Amy Klobuchar pushes FEC for details on Trump's Ukraine call

Minnesota senator wants details on legal terms used to decline criminal probe.
Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, shown in 2016.

Walz names Minneapolis city attorney, Ramsey County judge to state Court of Appeals

Susan Segal and Jeffrey Bryan become the Walz administration's first appellate court picks.
Angel and Carl Larsen, owners and founders of Telescope Media Group, stand in front of family and friends outside the Federal Courthouse in Saint Paul

Fight over St. Cloud couple's right to not film same-sex weddings goes to federal court

Christian couple's bid to exclude gays returns to its starting point.
Then-DOC Deputy Commissioner, Sarah Walker, along with Minnesota First Lady Gwen Walz, addressed supporters during the "Second Chance Day on the Hill

Curtis Shanklin picked for Minnesota Corrections Department deputy job

Shanklin replaces Sarah Walker, who left in July under a cloud.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that state and federal officials “need to stay in the lane of the facts” as they deal with the threat of elec

Gov. Tim Walz calls election meddling 'a real threat'

Election officials eye new defenses against cyberattacks using a National Guard team.
Election judges Mary Wickersham, left, and Mary Maynard, right, worked on the mandatory public testing of St. Louis Park's voter machines ahead of the

Guard's coders, hackers may help shore up election defenses

State election officials have warned that more foreign sources are likely to try to penetrate states' election systems than in 2016, adding that there are already signs of widespread online disinformation campaigns underway.
“I don’t see how new red flag laws are going to be any more beneficial if we’re not enforcing the kind of ‘red flag light’ bills that we hav

Amid pressure for gun control, Republicans cite lagging enforcement of existing laws

Just hours before Margaret Flath’s husband shot and killed her in a domestic dispute two years ago, he had bonded out of jail in Wadena,…
Abdelhamid Al-Madioum

St. Louis Park man who joined ISIS is believed found in Syrian prison

Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 22, disappeared in 2015 while on a family vacation. He claims that the FBI interrogated him in a Syrian prison.

Libertarian Party in court for easier path to Minnesota ballot

Its first challenge is to Minnesota's primary voting restriction.
Michelle Fischbach, shown here when Tim Pawlenty introduced her as his running mate, announced Monday she was challenging U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

Analyst: Fischbach not invulnerable but makes Seventh District race a 'tossup'

Another national political analyst considers former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach’s challenge to longtime DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson a “tossup.” David Wasserman of the…
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon in 2016.

Cost forecast for Super Tuesday in Minnesota triples, thanks in part to 2 legalize-marijuana parties

Secretary of state says new major parties on ballots will boost costs.
Former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, left, and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson. The Seventh Congressional District battle sets up what could be the most comp

Michelle Fischbach to test Collin Peterson's strength in a pro-Trump district

Their battle sets up what could be the most competitive and closely watched U.S. House race in Minnesota
An ATF official at the scene of a shooting in South St. Paul in 2018. A record 3,909 firearms were confiscated by Minnesota law enforcement last year,

ATF says record year for gun seizures in Minnesota

The recent mass shootings have renewed scrutiny of semiautomatic military-style rifles.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention on Aug. 21 in Altoona, Iowa. (AP Phot

Klobuchar's prosecutor past, once an asset, puts her on the defensive

The same job that served as the foundation of Klobuchar's political career has been the source of fresh skepticism among voters of color and progressives.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, smiled to one of his supporters as he spoke at MPR's booth at the Minnesota State Fa

Minnesota is key battleground state, Sanders tells fairgoers

A thick crush of supporters followed Sanders between radio and television interviews, chanting his name and cheering.
In this file photo, Angel and Carl Larsen, owners and founders of Telescope Media Group, stand in front of family and friends outside the Federal Cour

St. Cloud couple who refused to film same-sex wedding win in appeals court

Appeals panel says state law violates speech rights.

Loss in court slices millions from Minnesota state budget

The state of Minnesota is potentially out more than $130 million this budget cycle after losing a court battle that will greatly limit the state's ability to collect taxes on trust accounts in other states.
A crowd on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol listened to a speaker as they gathered for a rally against gun violence earlier in August where Go

Pressure builds for new Minn. laws to deal with gun violence

Other states have passed "red flag" and background-check bills, part of a national movement for tougher gun laws now stirring again in Minnesota.
Kyle Rosenquist checked out a semiautomatic rifle at Bill’s Gun Shop in Robbinsdale. He plans to join the nearly 290,000 gun-permit holders in the s

Carnage raises scrutiny of popular, widely available rifles

Since a federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 after a decade in force, the nation has become awash in the guns, with up to 20 million circulating.
Daniel Karpowitz is a New York academic tapped to help lead the Minnesota Department of Corrections' prisoner education and second-chance efforts.

New Walz recruit aims to expand college in Minnesota prisons

Daniel Karpowitz comes from Bard Institute, which has been credited with cutting recidivism rates for prisoners.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon met last week with state officials tasked with reviewing election security strategies before absentee primary

New info about election hacks raises the alarm in Minnesota

After partisan blockade, Minnesota officials now have access to federal security money.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, front, and Assistant Commissioner Booker Hodges.

Minnesota public safety leaders hit the road for feedback on police recruitment

Officials from the state Department of Public Safety are hitting the road this summer to collect feedback designed to aid law enforcement recruitment efforts. The…
A sign for Bde Maka Ska at 32nd Street Beach.

Lake Calhoun or Bde Maka Ska? Minnesota Supreme Court to decide

The state high court agrees to hear the legal challenge over state's 2018 decision to rename the Minneapolis lake.
DOC Deputy Commissioner Sarah Walker, pictured at a rally in February, has resigned.

Ex-corrections official says she's unfairly accused of lobbying on state time

Sarah Walker stepped down abruptly on Friday.
Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announce a working group and public hearings about what they call police

Ellison, Harrington kick off working group on deadly police encounters

In wake of police shootings, new group aims to guide policy

Minnesota courts hit reset on troubled online access system

Scores of errors set back remote access project.
Attorney General Keith Ellison, Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink and Gov. Tim Walz after the bill signing ceremony.

Minnesota lawmakers, officials hail new wage-theft law as nation's strongest

Gov. Tim Walz signs bill making wage theft a felony in Minnesota.
Attorney General Keith Ellison leaves Fergus Falls City Hall after holding a public listening session there.

Attorney General Keith Ellison goes on the road to counter hate

Rural Minnesota is emerging as a key part of state officials' search for solutions to hate and bias-motivated crime.
Bjorn Ihler, who survived terrorist Anders Breivik’s shooting rampage in 2011, spoke at Macalester College this week.

Norway terror attack survivor: Shooter wasn't a monster, but 'a human being like us'

Bjorn Ihler shares lessons of 2011 extremist violence.
FILE - In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bil

State GOP lawmaker calling for ethics probe of Rep. Ilhan Omar

GOP state Rep. Steve Drazkowski also was behind campaign finance complaints.
Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke at an inclusivity forum on Friday, June 21, in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Ellison says he'll defend abortion restrictions in state statutes

Some wondered how state attorney general, an abortion-rights advocate, would respond.
A state probe of campaign finance violations showed that Rep. Ilhan Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, w

New documents revisit questions on Rep. Omar's marriage history

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and other officials say they are reviewing longstanding inconsistencies in police agencies' collection of dat

Keith Ellison zeroes in on hate crimes

Law enforcement partnerships are seen as key to deterring acts based on bias.
Justice David Lillehaug is a former U.S. attorney in Minnesota who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Justice David Lillehaug to step down next year due to illness

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug, 65, said he had intended to seek re-election in 2020 but is coping with Parkinson's disease.
State Sen. Kari Dziedzic

Minn. legislator revives push to strip rapists' parental rights

Alabama and Minnesota are unique among the states in that they have no statute ending parental rights for fathers found to have conceived a child by rape or incest.