According to an affidavit signed by Andrew Rothman, president of the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, state Rep. Ron Erhardt, a Democrat running for re-election to his legislative seat, threatened to kill Rothman over a gun rights survey, City Pages reported Wednesday.
Earlier this summer, City Pages said, GOCRA sent two emails asking the 84-year-old Erhardt to respond to their survey. Not receiving a response, Rothman attempted to contact Erhardt by phone.
That's when things went bad, Rothman's affidavit said. According to the document, Rothman explained that the group's policy was to give a special "F*" grade to candidates with either no voting record or survey, as set out in the section describing how the survey data would be used.
"Give me a double F!" Erhardt allegedly yelled. "No more surveys! You come near me, and I'll blow your head off!"
"Rep. Erhardt then disconnected the phone call," the affidavit adds. The entire call lasted 78 seconds.
Rothman said he found it "quite remarkable" to be threatened in such a fashion by a candidate running for office. According to Rothman's statement, even candidates and sitting legislators who oppose GOCRA usually act in a professional, civil and mature manner.
Immediately after being threatened, Rothman said he logged the call and contacted Bryan Strawser, executive director of GOCRA's polling partner, MNGOPAC, to "report and memorialize the exchange." He was also curious to know if others had experienced the same thing.
Rothman told City Pages he doesn't see Erhardt's outburst as a "credible threat." Nevertheless, he intends to keep his distance in the event Erhardt decides to make good on his promise.
"I have no intention of visiting Mr. Erhardt in Edina," he said. City Pages said Rothman has not been in touch with Erhardt since that call.
As per their policy, GOCRA gave Erhardt a special "F" grade. The group also recommended anger management therapy and early retirement. A post at Bearing Arms said Erhardt is "in need of a vacation from a job that seems to be too stressful for him."
Erhardt was first elected as a Republican in 1991. He switched sides after being denied the MNGOP endorsement in 2008 and was sent back to the legislature in 2012 after being endorsed by the progressive DFL. City Pages said Erhardt did not respond to voicemails and emails.