Charges: Man knocked election candidate out after middle class jibe

GOP House candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion.
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More details have emerged about the attack on a Republican election candidate who was punched in the face by a man at a bar last month.

Shane Mekeland, who is running in Minnesota House District 15B, was attacked at Jack and Jim's Bar in St. George Township, Benton County, on Oct. 12.

The man accused of punching him, Richard Schmit, 53, of Foley, Minnesota, has been charged with 3rd degree assault and two counts of 5th degree assault over the incident.

In a criminal complaint, a witness told police the punching happened when Schmit took exception to a comment Mekeland made about "eliminating the middle class."

Mekeland had earlier sat down and started "campaigning," Schmit told police, with the attack happening about 30 minutes later when Schmit was on his 6th or 7th beer.

He told police he'd worked in labor unions all his life and said he remembers "something snapping in him" when Mekeland started talking about the middle class.

During the political debate, Schmit allegedly shouted "you f-----s don't give a s--- about the middle class," before saying "I am the middle class" and punching him in the left eye.


Mekeland fell back off his barstool, hitting his head on the floor and passing out. 

He had treatment in a local hospital, with records since showing he suffered a closed head injury, a nasal injury, a concussion and a subconjunctival hematoma.

The criminal complaint notes that Schmit "was very apologetic and appeared honest during the interview."

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