Gov. Mark Dayton and other DFL leaders are denouncing state Rep. Kerry Gauthier's decision to continue to seek re-election. Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, told the Northland's News Center today that he'll continue to run for re-election and let voters decide his fate.
The first term DFL lawmaker admitted to police last month that he had sexual contact with a 17 year-old boy at a rest stop in Duluth. Gauthier was not charged or arrested, because the St. Louis County Attorney said the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, and no money changed hands.
Nevertheless, Dayton said today that Gauthier should reconsider his decision to run for re-election.
"It's a terrible mistake on his part, Dayton said. "I think it's something that goes beyond the morals of Minnesotans to solicit on Craigslist to solicit sex with a minor and do it in a public area."
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen also criticized Gauthier's decision. Martin said he will push to have Duluth's DFL Party to pull Gauthier's endorsement.
The Duluth TV station that interviewed Gauthier today also reported that his hospitalization last week resulted from prescription drug use.
Gauthier said that he took several muscle relaxants and was found unconscious and taken to the hospital. Initial reports last week said that he was hospitalized after a breathing problem.