Rep. John Thompson's often-controversial term ends in DFL primary rout

A state representative who often generated headlines for conduct during his first tenure was defeated by a nearly 80-point margin in Tuesday’s primary election.

Rep. John Thompson received 11.07% compared to challenger Liz Lee’s 88.93% to be the DFL candidate to represent District 67A in St. Paul come November.

When he was first elected in August 2020, Thompson received criticism for his demeanor during a protest in Hugo, Minnesota, outside the house of Minneapolis Police Officers Federation president Bob Kroll. 

Thompson, who won the primary the week before, can be seen shouting a number of expletives through a microphone during his speech as neighbors and children watched. 

The following summer, questions arose as to whether or not he lived in the district he was representing after police cited Thompson for a July, 2021, traffic violation in St. Paul.

District 67A encompasses the Payne-Phalen and Greater East Side neighborhoods of St. Paul, but Thompson presented a Wisconsin driver's license, according to the citation. 

Minnesota law requires legislators to maintain residency in their district for 30 days before the general election and attest to their address of residence on their filing paperwork.

Bodycam was eventually released of the incident after bipartisan calls for transparency mounted. 

Following the controversies, a FOX 9 investigation revealed four domestic abuse cases, and in September 2021, the Minnesota House DFL voted to expel Rep. John Thompson from its caucus. 

In April 2022, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell accused Thompson of abusing his official position after he allegedly tried to bully police officers during a traffic stop involving a family member.

According to police, officers tried to stop a woman for erratic driving and expired tabs when they smelled marijuana coming from the van, which is registered to Thompson and others. As more officers arrived, so did Thompson.

"It turned ugly fast," said Axtell after the incident. "It’s an absolute shame – that an elected official would attempt to intimidate and bully police officers, that he would misuse his official position, that officers doing their jobs should have to endure illegitimate claims of racism, that John Thompson is still serving in the Legislature."

Thompson denied the allegations, however, also refused to release the bodycam footage of the event – despite police transparency being a campaign cornerstone.