Judge grants temporary restraining order to ex-wife of Minnesota GOP communications director

Ex-wife alleges stalking, harassment.

By: - August 26, 2020 3:46 pm

Jack Tomczak, communications director of the Minnesota GOP.

Just two weeks before Minnesota Republicans hired Jack Tomczak to be the party’s communications director, a Hennepin County judge granted a temporary restraining order against him, ruling “there are reasonable grounds to believe” he engaged in harassment of his ex-wife.  

Careen Holly Martin, 41, Tomczak’s ex-wife, filed a petition for a temporary harassment restraining order on June 21 and it was granted. Both appeared at an Aug. 14 hearing, and Tomczak denied the allegations; a contested evidentiary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 12. Three days after the August hearing, Tomczak was staffing President Donald Trump’s visit to Mankato. 

Martin alleges stalking and surveillance, uninvited visits, harassing communications and threats by Tomczak, 42, whom she divorced in 2018.

He was ordered in June not to have contact with her or come within two blocks of her Plymouth home, although he is allowed to text message her to discuss their children. 

In her 18-page petition, Martin said she left Tomczak in May 2018 “and he has harassed me ever since.” She also alleges he has a pattern of harassing and stalking people he feels have wronged him.

Tomczak declined to comment on the record. Martin declined to comment. 

The Republican Party of Minnesota did not return requests for comment. 

After hiring Tomczak, GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said on Twitter he would make the “DREAM TEAM stronger.”

Tomczak is a well known conservative personality, having worked on Republican campaigns and hosted conservative talk radio shows and a podcast. 

He was a campaign operative for Tom Emmer before his election to Congress, and former Rep. Michele Bachman. He was reportedly let go by the Bachman campaign and then became a critic of hers.

Martin’s petition alleges Tomczak frequently engaged in surveillance of her and others, including putting a tracking device on her car. He “joked,” she says in court papers, that if she ever left him it would be “murder-suicide.” When she left him, she alleges, she sent their children to her brother’s house and stayed in hotels, but he found her through her credit card history and began following her.

She said in the court filing that he often takes surreptitious videos or audio recordings of people. 

Martin alleges Tomzcak rummaged through her car in search of a hard drive, kept her personal journals in his possession and often insinuated that he had information about her that would be damaging if brought to light. 

In May, Martin alleges, upon finding out about her new relationship, Tomczak went to her employer and contributed to her being dismissed. After Tomczak learned of a previous relationship, he stalked and harassed the man and his family, she claims. 

Tomczak has been accused of threatening and harrassing previously. In 2012, University of Minnesota professor Bill Gleason accused him of harassment in an FCC complaint after heated exchanges on Twitter and on Tomczak’s show. According to a MinnPost account, “After some negotiating, the local “Tea Party Radio Network” station that carried Tomczak’s show agreed that Tomczak would read an apology on the air.” An account of the incident can still be found online on Gleason’s blog.

Tomczak also left his “Up and At ’Em” radio show on Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130 without explanation in 2016.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.