During the Trump campaign, we spent a significant amount of time on the blog highlighting how many people felt Hilary was a dangerous criminal. Now, it seems yet another criminal is attempting to join the Senate – and this time, it’s a convicted killer. Seventy-five-year-old Leonard Richards, who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of two American citizens, is running for a Democratic seat. No, we’re not kidding. You can’t even make this stuff up.
• This might be permissible if Richards was the type of criminal whose case was questionable, but that simply isn’t true. He was convicted of killing May Wilson, his sister, and lawyer Robert Stratton back in the early ‘80s.
• The kicker here is that Richards isn’t even out on parole; he’s still in jail. If voted in, he would effectively serve in the Senate from a jail cell. That’s a fate many of us have stated should happen to other Democrats, but that’s another tale for another time.
• Think Richards can’t run because he’s a prisoner? Not true! Even more absurd is the fact that Minnesota law only prevents prisoners from running for state-based positions. He is free and clear (albeit not as free and clear as he would like to be) to run for the Senate.
• It isn’t even Richards’ first time running. In fact, the double murderer has run for federal seats several times during his incarceration. It’s difficult to determine whether he intends to run or is simply abusing the process for its benefits (such as additional time with a lawyer or visits outside the prison).
• Well, no harm – surely no one will vote for him, right? Yeah, about that…in 1992, Richards’s run in the DFL primary resulted in a whopping 14,500 votes. A second campaign in 1994 netted him 4,000 votes. He has support.
• Currently, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has held the seat he’s running for since 2007. He would need to unseat her to win; fortunately, that isn’t likely to happen. However, the case does raise an important question about laws that give criminals the power to garner support and federal seat votes.
• Richards doesn’t have a hope in a handbasket of winning, but that doesn’t mean that other criminal masterminds wouldn’t. Plenty of criminals manage to convince tens of thousands of people of their innocence; giving them federal seating could place them in a dangerous position of power.