Opponents in Moorhead legislative race both say attack ad was over the line
GOP candidate Dan Bohmer called on Democratic candidate Rob Kupec to disavow the ad attacking Bohmer. Bohmer and Kupec are vying to represent legislative District 4 that includes Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and surrounding areas.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — A political ad accuses Republican legislative candidate Dan Bohmer of domestic abuse, and now his Democratic opponent, Rob Kupec, is saying the ad goes too far in mentioning one of Bohmer's children.
The television ad that began airing this week displayed court documents from Bohmer’s 2021 divorce. Paid for by the DFL Senate Caucus in Minnesota, the ad mentioned multiple calls to police, as well as alleged harassment, bullying and angry outbursts by Bohmer, a former Moorhead city councilor and retired Army colonel.
More specifically, the ad claimed Bohmer recorded his child showering, made his then-wife drive herself to a doctor when she had a miscarriage, and called her “stupid” and a “parasite."
In a statement, Bohmer said the ad was filled with half-truths and unsubstantiated lies.
“Sadly, it serves as a reminder that when Democrats can’t win with ideas, they attack with mud,” he said. “They are lying in an effort to assassinate my character instead of talking about the issues that voters care about: historic inflation squeezing their budgets, crime creeping into our hometowns, and kids falling behind in school.”
Bohmer's ex-wife, a federal employee, declined to comment for this story, citing the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from speaking about politics.
Bohmer and Kupec are vying to replace state Sen. Kent Eken, D-Audubon. Eken announced in April that he would not seek reelection. Now Bohmer and Kupec are battling to represent legislative District 4, which includes Moorhead, Detroit Lakes and surrounding areas.
Bohmer's divorce was finalized in November 2021, though several filings on child custody continued to be filed into September of this year in Clay County District Court. The parents were given joint custody, and Judge Michelle Lawson ordered Bohmer to pay child support to his ex-wife.
Bohmer's campaign sent The Forum a Moorhead police report that said the shower incident had no criminal elements. The Forum was unable to verify the report with law enforcement.
Bohmer has not faced any criminal charges in connection to the allegations detailed in the ad.
Bohmer called on Kupec, a former KVRR meteorologist, to disavow the attack ad. The Republican's children also wrote a paid political letter that showed support for their father and called for the ad to be taken down.
Kupec issued a statement Wednesday, Nov. 2, saying that in the past few months, he learned of the allegations made against Bohmer in the divorce proceedings, but chose not to go to news outlets with the information.
Kupec said the DFL Senate Caucus ran the ad without his knowledge. He condemned the use of children for political gain.
“But it is important to remember that Dan Bohmer is not the victim here,” Kupec said in his statement. “Based on numerous accounts from others, the information in the ad cannot simply be chalked up as the result of an unfortunate, but messy divorce. We must support survivors of domestic violence.”
Rachel Aplikowski, a representative for Bohmer’s campaign, called Kupec’s statement "just more rumors and innuendo.”
“This disinformation is harmful to the Bohmer family and the public discourse,” Aplikowski said in a statement. “Dan is focused on running a positive campaign about the issues voters care most about."
Bohmer served on the Moorhead City Council from 2006 to 2010. He has spent the past 16 years operating and managing a nuclear pharmacy in Moorhead, which dispenses radioactive materials for use in medical procedures.
Those who run for public office should expect scrutiny and be held to a high standard of personal and professional behavior, DFL Senate Caucus spokeswoman Megan Hondl said in a statement.
"Allegations of domestic abuse should be taken seriously, and voters have the right to know," Hondl said. "Dan Bohmer's abusive behavior is the central issue and it is up to voters to decide whether it is important for them to know."