Republican election candidate allegedly punched during bar chat about politics

The Republican is running for the Minnesota House.
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A Minnesota House election candidate says he was punched in the face after a chat about politics suddenly turned heated.

Shane Mekeland, who is running for the Republican Party to replace incumbent GOPer Jim Newberger in House District 15B, was allegedly assaulted at a bar in St. George Township on Friday night.

According to the Benton County Sheriff's Office, Mekeland said he was talking about politics with another man at the bar, when what was an "amiable" conversation took a turn for the worse.

Apparently, the alleged attacker "took offense to a statement Mekeland made concerning the 'middle class,'" the sheriff's office said.

He then punched Mekeland in the face without warning.

The suspect has been identified and interviewed by police, but as of Monday evening has not been arrested as the investigation continues.

A new representative will be elected to District 15B this November, with Newberger leaving office as he's challenging Sen. Amy Klobuchar for her U.S. Senate seat.

Mekeland is up against Democrat Karla Scapanski and Independent Myron Wilson.

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