Moments after being sentenced on charges stemming from a traffic stop for speeding and suspicion of drunk driving in 2013, Michelle MacDonald declared today she would again run for office as a judicial candidate - as early as next year.
MacDonald was the endorsed by the Republican Party of Minnesota for the Minnesota Supreme Court, but lost to incumbent Justice David Lillehaug by just 7 points - 53 percent to 46 percent.
When asked about her political future today, MacDonald said, "I am running again." MacDonald added that "nearly 700,000 Minnesotans voted for me and I feel that if I had the backing of the [Republican Party of Minnesota State Executive Committee] I would have been elected."
MacDonald received the highest vote percentage any Republican statewide candidate for office on Election Day, a fact mentioned by MacDonald in her post-sentencing interview. MacDonald repeated statements made by her attorney in September that she would appeal her conviction on all charges.
MacDonald said she would like to have a "heart-to-heart" conversation with Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Keith Downey to "plan a strategy to get a Supreme Court Justice sitting on the bench who wants justice for all Minnesotans, and that would be me." MacDonald said she would again seek the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota and her sentencing today would not "dissuade" her from running for office again.
The margin of the race between MacDonald and Lillehaug was surprising to many political observers, including the Republican Party of Minnesota. MacDonald said "from the moment I learned that I had 47 percent of the votes...I was looking [for opportunities to run again], as soon as next year."
Jon Cummings, the founder of Minnesotans for Safe Driving, which is a victims advocate group focused on the dangers of drinking and driving, attended MacDonald's trial and her sentencing hearing today.
Cummings said, "we have these laws for a reason and if [MacDonald] would have just taken the test, we could have avoided all of this." Cummings added that MacDonald showed, "horrible judgment...I don't think anybody with judgment like that should ever sit on the Supreme Court or any other kind of [judicial] bench."
The Republican Party of Minnesota did not respond to a request for comment on MacDonald's sentence or about her request to meet with Downey.
Picture source: Michelle MacDonald for Minnesota Supreme Court