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Sahan Journal released a voter guide about the Hennepin County attorney’s race on Tuesday, in collaboration with Pollen Midwest. The voter guide included multiple elements: an introduction and overview of the office and the campaign; policy interviews with all the candidates; and information on your rights as a voter and how to cast a ballot. 

In response to negative feedback on social media, Pollen Midwest apologized Wednesday evening for parts of the guide and removed a quote that appeared in the introduction. Sahan won’t be following Pollen’s lead, and we’d like our readers to know why.

First, some short background. Sahan Journal reported, photographed, and wrote the Hennepin County attorney voter guide. Pollen Midwest designed and co-published it.

We picked this race for a reason. It’s a powerful and often overlooked elected office: The county attorney sets policies and priorities for criminal prosecutions, and oversees child protection and child support cases. 

In 2018, Mike Freeman, the incumbent, defeated a more progressive challenger, Mark Haase. In our overview this week, we quoted Haase saying this about the 2022 field: 

They’re all pretty progressive,” said Haase, who lost to Freeman. “In the end, it’s going to be about who people feel more comfortable with based on their background and who they are. But it’s such a large race, I’m not sure how we’ll get to that point.

Some commenters on social media have taken issue with Haase’s characterization. Readers, of course, may agree with Haase’s interpretation or vehemently reject it.

Earlier this evening, Pollen Midwest released a Twitter thread retracting Haase’s quote and described it as “harmful”: 

Pollen believes that several of the candidates hold views that fall outside what common political discourse would label as “progressive.” Mark, like all of us, is entitled to his view, but it is not one Pollen shares

As an independent, nonprofit newsroom, Sahan Journal follows a different set of standards. Our mission is to provide information that helps readers become informed and empowered citizens. We accurately report what people say and let readers make up their own minds. 

In covering the news,  we sometimes publish quotes and perspectives that people might disagree with. Readers can and should criticize those public statements. They should feel free to criticize our work, too.

Readers can find the original voter guide on our own website, www.sahanjournal.com, including the introduction and the candidate questionnaires. We hope you read it and, if you’re able to vote in Hennepin County, we hope you’ll participate in the election. 

Finally, we hope you’ll continue to read our work and tell us what you think. Sahan Journal exists to serve people like you. 

*UPDATE Thursday, July 28, 2:00 p.m.: After publication of this editor’s note, Mark Haase contacted Sahan Journal to elaborate on his original quote about the array of candidates in the Hennepin County attorney’s race and how voters may differentiate between them. 

In a follow-up conversation, Haase added that the average voter may see similarities in the candidate’s published positions—with the exception of Jude. He also commented on what he sees as “fear-mongering” from Jude and, to a lesser extent, another candidate, Ostrow. 
“To the typical voter, those platforms as stated on their websites look pretty progressive, especially compared to what we’ve seen in the past in Hennepin County,” Haase added. “That could make it difficult for a typical voter to know who to vote for.”

We’ve added Haase’s new quotes and new context to the published piece.

voter guide about the Hennepin County attorney’s race

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim

Mukhtar Ibrahim is the founding publisher and CEO of Sahan Journal. He previously worked as a staff writer for the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio News. He has also written for the St. Paul...