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Second county poll shows attorney support for Clark

More attorneys have weighed in on the First Judicial District election, with the vast majority throwing their support behind Larry Clark.

According to a press release from the Dakota County Bar Association, the organization conducted a plebiscite among its 168 members. Of the 98 who responded, association members supported Larry Clark over incumbent Timothy Blakely 85-7.

The polling represents the second known plebiscite issued in the race. The results of the Minnesota State Bar Association poll, which also found strong support for Clark, have since been criticized by local attorneys who wondered how thorough the polling was.

Assistant Goodhue County Attorney Carol Lee said she received the Minnesota State Bar Association plebiscite, but was only able to vote for appeals and Supreme Court candidates. Other attorneys around Goodhue County also said they didn't see the Blakely-Clark race on the ballot, Lee said.

The Minnesota State Bar Association reported 72 percent of First Judicial District lawyers backed Clark. But those figures were based off just 45 responses; Lee said there are more than 1,000 lawyers in the district, which comprises seven counties.

One other group not included in those returns was the Dakota County Bar Association. Though part of the First Judicial District, the organization is independent and not affiliated with the Minnesota State Bar Association, thus omitting its members from the state group's polling.

Dakota County Bar Association President Karissa Richardson said the Dakota County plebiscite was conducted over the past month and returned on Sept. 24.

Minnesota legal insiders have closely watched the First District judicial race, which pits Blakely -- who ran afoul of the courts system in 2008 -- against Clark, a Dakota County prosecutor.

Blakely came under review by the State Board of Judicial Standards amid allegations he received a $63,500 discount on his divorce costs in exchange for funneling mediation business to his personal lawyer.

The board originally recommended the Minnesota Supreme Court remove Blakely from office. The high court in September 2009 censured Blakely for six months without pay.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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