Republican Marty Seifert is continuing to put pressure on his top GOP rival for governor, Tom Emmer, on the DWI issue.
Seifert's team sent another letter to GOP delegates, this time focused on Emmer's efforts to change the state's DWI laws during his time in the Legislature.
The letter, written by Cottage Grove Police Officer Randy McAlister, criticizes Emmer for his proposal:
I am simply appalled at Tom Emmer's DWI legislation sponsored last year.
First, he authored a bill which would have the practical effect of allowing DWI offenders to hide their convictions from the public after a period of time.
Second, he authored a bill which would allow arrested DWI offenders to continue driving legally - because it would have prohibited the administrative revocation of their licenses pending their court appearance. This means they could continue to drive, and potentially drive drunk, for months.
This bill also would have had the effect of preventing the imposition of enhanced sentences on many habitual drunk drivers.
Under Rep. Emmer's proposed bill, someone arrested again for DWI while a prior DWI charge is pending could only be charged with additional misdemeanors because they didn't have any convictions for the prior arrests yet. Under current law, prosecutors have the ability to charge such an offender with gross-misdemeanor or even felony DWI.
Right now, many judges are lenient on felony DWI offenders. These offenders are serious threats to public safety - to you, your loved ones, friends, and neighbors - but they rarely get sentences that are as stiff as they should be according to the state's sentencing guidelines.
Enforcement of our DWI laws on our highways and roads is already difficult enough.
Can you imagine how much worse enforcement efforts will be if multiple DWI offenders are allowed to skate with misdemeanor charges for a third or fourth DWI?
The letter ends by saying Emmer is "not a platform Republican when it comes to the life-or-death issue of drunk driving."
The letter started hitting homes on Saturday. It follows a separate letter from Seifert's campaign last week that raised the issue of Emmer's own past DWI arrests.
I contacted Emmer's campaign for a response but haven't heard back yet.
I'll post something when I do.
Update: Emmer's spokesman, David Strom, sent along this statement:
Tom Emmer on Marty Seifert's continued attacks: "There he goes again."
Republicans will meet on Friday to endorse a candidate for governor. Both Seifert and Emmer say they'll drop out of the race if they don't win party backing.