Elizabeth Mulay, whose accusations of sexual improprieties against GOP nominee Jon Grunseth upended the 1990 gubernatorial contest, has died from injuries sustained in a north Minneapolis house fire. Mulay and a friend were injured in a possible gas explosion on July 30.
Just weeks before the 1990 general election, the Star Tribune ran an explosive story detailing accusations that Grunseth had attempted to swim naked with four underage girls at a party in the early 1980s. Mulay described in detail attempts by the GOP candidate to grab her breast and remove her bathing suit.
Grunseth initially denied the accusations and vowed to stay in the race. But just days before the general election, he dropped out of the race. That cleared the way for Arne Carlson to lead the GOP ticket, which triumphed over incumbent DFLer Rudy Perpich.
Minnesota Public Radio spoke to Mulay last year to mark the 20th anniversary of the nasty gubernatorial campaign. She stood by her role in the election scandal. “I did something right. Can I protect every woman he ever comes across? No,” Mulay said at the time. “But I certainly made myself heard. It was the first time I ever stood up for myself. As naive as I was and as silly as I might have sounded, it made me a better person.”
(H/T to PIM contributor Kevin Featherly for noticing Mulay’s notable role in Minnesota politics.)