MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On WCCO Sunday Morning, gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tim Walz expressed anger and frustration that Lori Swanson is accusing his campaign of exploiting #MeToo allegations against a former staffer of Rep. Rick Nolan, her running mate, for political gain.

In an explosive story by the online journal MinnPost, two women who worked as interns in Nolan’s congressional office accused the congressman of sheltering a staffer they accused of sexual harassment.

The MinnPost article identified one of the women making the harassment claims as working on a Minnesota gubernatorial campaign.

Extended Interview With Rep. Tim Walz

In a statement Friday, Ruth Stanoch, the spokesperson for the Swanson/Nolan campaign, said that a poll was published showing that Swanson had a double-digit lead over Walz and Erin Murphy, another DFL candidate. Stanoch said it was “unfortunate that candidates who are behind in the polls seek to exploit this matter for their political advantage.”

On WCCO Sunday Morning, Walz said one of the young women in the MinnPost article does work for his campaign and personally came to him asking for advice on what to do after being approached by a reporter. Walz said he told the woman to do what was best for her.

“My comment to her is that I would support her decision in whatever she chose to do, to tell a story that must be told,” he said.

Walz expressed anger that the Swanson/Nolan ticket was engaged in what he called “victim blaming.”

“This is what silences women from being able to tell their stories,” he added.

In that Friday statement, Swanson said “there is no place for sexual harassment in the workplace or society.” As for Nolan, he said that in hindsight his campaign should not have hired the staffer in 2016.

He also apologized to the women for what they experienced while working for his office and for any insensitive comments he might have said.

Esme Murphy