Kahn: election will not change

Kahn pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing campaign fliers from residents’ door steps.

Chad Hamblin

Phyllis Kahn is shaken, but not deterred.

After she pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing campaign fliers from New Hope, Minn., residents’ door steps, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said Friday she does not think her conviction will affect the upcoming election.

Amanda Hutchings, a fourth-year political science student, is running against Kahn in the next election.

Hutchings said she didn’t know how much Kahn’s conviction would affect the election and said she would leave it up to the voters.

“I hope that people will think hard and long before they make their decision,” she said. “I trust the voters to make the right decision.”

Kahn has disregarded the voters and laws that govern them, Hutchings said.

“This is simply unacceptable for someone who has been around as long as she has,” she said.

Kahn, a 32-year veteran of the Legislature, said she didn’t realize how stressed out she had been about the incident until it was all over.

“When I got the final verdict, I felt like this weight had been taken off,” she said. “People kept asking me all along, ‘How are you feeling?’ (I said), ‘Well, you know, I understand what’s going to happen.’ “

“I’m glad it’s over,” she said.

On July 19, a New Hope resident saw Kahn removing campaign fliers from her neighbor’s doorstep and called the police, according to a court complaint. The fliers were for the re-election campaign of Rep. Lynne Osterman, R-Minneapolis.

When police asked Kahn about the fliers, she told

them she had three in her car. Police searched her and found five other fliers on her person, according to the complaint.

Kahn has since apologized to Osterman for taking the fliers.

The court sentenced Kahn to pay $200, New Hope City Attorney Steve Sondrall said.

If Kahn does not commit a similar crime within the next year, the theft will not show up on her permanent record, he said.

Sondrall, who filed the charge, said Kahn’s actions were primarily an ethical problem.

“The value of a piece of campaign literature is minimal,” he said. “It’s not like she burglarized a house.”

Her actions did not violate the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act, Sondrall said.

In every legislative election since 1994, at least one University student has tried to unseat Kahn. Ben Bowman, a former University student, came closest in 2000 with 37 percent of the vote.