Candidate seeks new election over misplaced photo on election day
MINNESOTA–An unsuccessful state senate candidate contested primary election results in late September and asked a Minneapolis circuit judge to require The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune to pay for another election after the newspaper mistakenly ran a photo of the candidate with an article about a charity fraud on the day of the election.
Candidate John Derus claimed that The Star Tribune abused its free press rights by “recklessly, negligently or intentionally” misplacing his picture. He pointed to the state constitution, which proclaims that the freedoms of the press should not be violated and all citizens have a right to speak, write and publish freely on all matters, “being responsible for the abuse of such a right.”
Derus also claimed The Star Tribune violated voters’ rights to a fair election, free of “undue or fraudulent” influence. The newspaper directly or indirectly used “undue influence” against voters to sway some to vote against him, Derus claimed.
The Star Tribune filed a motion to dismiss the case and a motion for protective order to halt discovery pending the outcome of the dismissal. Although the newspaper now refuses to comment on the case, editor Tim McGuire released an official statement in late September saying the photograph was misplaced inadvertently and he has seen no proof that it affected the primary elections.
No court hearing had been scheduled by early October.
(Derus v. Higgins; Media Counsel: John French, Minneapolis)